Agenda item

Domestic Abuse and Children as Survivors


Councillor Hayden (Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Libraries, Cemeteries and Crematoria) introduced the item to the Committee and made the following points:

a) Plymouth OFSTED report in December 2022 highlighted areas of improvement required around Plymouth’s Domestic Abuse Practice, including improved triaging of domestic abuse cases, improved use of domestic abuse risk assessment tools and improved partnership working with Plymouth’s local specialists;

b) Plymouth made significant efforts to improve the city wide response including coordinating a community response accreditation in July 23 and began working with Standing Together Against Domestic Abuse to be the first area in the UK to pilot the whole system approach, this would include reinstating the multi-agency assessment conference steering approach to address high risk domestic abuse in the city;

c) Launch of Plymouth’s Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy in 2023-2035 action plan and city wide training programme for the VAWG;

d) Domestic Abuse policy was refreshed and the Council had white ribbon accreditation;

e) Held first M.A.N Culture conference in September 23.

Matt Garrett (Service Director for Community Connections) added:

f) Re-procurement of the Domestic Abuse service was set to include an expanded offer for children with the understanding that children were victims of DA in their own right;

g) Training provided for internal social workers around PSCP Safeguarding and DA as well as Risk Assessment training and additional training from technical lead around DA and what it meant;

h) Specialist Services for children from Barnardos had been changed to help victims and survivors make more sense of the relationships they were in;

i) Planned work included: workforce development to increase social worker confidence, strengthen the Whole Family Approach, shadowing opportunities with Plymouth Domestic Abuse service, continuing to improve information sharing, implemented the Whole School’s Approach in Autumn 2023 and co-ordinated Community Response Accreditation and MARAC review;

j) Safer Together Model would support Plymouth in responding to Ofsted concerns by working in a holistic way to protect children and keep them in the home and working around increasing the amount of support to people who harm to prevent them harming in the future.

In response to the questions raised it was reported that:

k) The work in the city wasn’t doing what it should and the procurement of the new contract and the conversations happening at Plymouth’s Domestic Abuse Sexual Violence sub group from Safer Plymouth is all about increasing the amount of support to children, how children were viewed as part of being victims of DA and looking at specialist therapeutic support to try and improve the offer to young people across the city;

l) Held an event with providers in the city for the contract for Domestic Abuse Service;

m) The join up with Community Safety impacted positively in relation to Children’s Services working within Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), the two things that helped were staff undertaking training with the tools and embedded this within the service and worked with other staff to model the approach to triage; and the second is we have a professional IDVA in the MASH for part of the week and that helped with capacity;

n) Process where schools had been informed through the work that came through the MASH, they would be informed and made aware and they would support the young person with regards to the awareness they had got and if the threshold had been met for an assessment or work within Early Help or our Statutory social care teams then that would progress and schools would be involved;

p) Had improved transition arrangements of vulnerable children’s information which included using a portal to upload information securely;

q) Work around children utilising the resources available would be delivered through the social education lessons (PSHE);

r) Whole system approach would be provided to children outside of the school environment linking into emerging family hubs, ensuring everybody who worked around the child would have the skills and confidence to support them, promised for end of September with a timeline of possibly end of April;

s) Sixteen Days of Activism had been agreed to be championed by everyone;

t) Sixteen Days programme would start on 25 November 2023 with a peaceful walk through the city;

u) VAWG communication campaign would be put on billboards and invisible places around the city within 6-8 weeks.


Supporting documents: