Response to the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care report

We welcome the main themes of this report, in particular the need to intervene earlier in a family’s journey. We would like to see all family members who experience domestic abuse receive the specialist support they need to get safe and start their recovery journey while holding perpetrators of abuse accountable for the harm they cause.

SafeLives’ Engage programme, developed in partnership with MyCWA and behavioural psychologist Emily Alison, is an intervention with/for couples or families who want to remain in a relationship, where it has been identified that there is some motivation to change by the perpetrator. Children’s social care teams often struggle to engage with perpetrators in meaningful ways and have very little access to appropriate interventions, reducing opportunities to address abusive behaviour before it escalates.

We also know that teenagers who have experienced abuse growing up or in their own teenage relationships are often left unacknowledged by the system, or unnecessarily criminalised without exploring and addressing the roots of their own trauma. Specialist voluntary and community organisations which take a holistic approach to the child or young person can bring solutions which statutory agencies cannot offer, which is why the 35% decrease in non-statutory children’s services is so worrying.

We look forward to continued engagement with Josh MacAlister, Chair of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care in England, and the team to ensure that evidence-based interventions which help to effectively support families earlier are part of the solution to the systemic problems identified in the report.

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