Multi-Agency work in Scotland (Safer, Sooner)

Joining the dots for an effective multi-agency response

Safer, Sooner is funded through the Scottish Government Delivering Equally Safe (DES) fund, and builds on our Marac Development Programme, which has been operating in Scotland since 2015, supporting Scottish Maracs to embed the SafeLives evaluated model and improve practice to offer a more effective response to victims and their families who are risk from domestic abuse.

Through Safer, Sooner we want to improve multi-agency capability, consistency, and capacity across Scotland, making it everyone’s business to keep women and children safer, sooner by:

  • Finding safe ways for victims to be an active part of the process
  • Improving the understanding of domestic abuse across frontline, multi-agency practice
  • Strengthening opportunities for coordination

We want to embed a system that points every victim of domestic abuse in Scotland, whatever their risk and whatever first step they take, to the right support to make them safer, sooner.

Everything needs to shift so that the nature, effects and impacts can been seen, understood and shared much earlier on.

Whole Lives Scotland survivor survey

Through Safer, Sooner, we want to improve multi-agency systems, including Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (Marac), and make sure they are survivor-centred and accessible to all.

We want to build an effective multi-agency response based around a common understanding of risk and informed by survivors’ authentic voice. A risk-led approach to domestic abuse means providing an individually tailored response to everyone experiencing domestic abuse, that meets their needs based on the risk they are experiencing.

A robust multi-agency response is a crucial component of a risk-led response to domestic abuse, alongside early and effective identification (through use of common tools like Dash), and specialist domestic abuse support through Independent Domestic Abuse Advocate provision. Safer, Sooner aims to increase consistency of Marac operation across Scotland, as well as examine wider multi-agency systems and process responding to domestic abuse, by sharing and examining best practice, providing support, and highlighting the views and voices of survivors across Scotland with existing Marac networks, decision and policy makers and wider public protection professionals.

The Safer, Sooner outcomes and activities are aimed at improving and embedding survivor engagement throughout multi-agency processes, embedding Marac within wider public protection processes and systems, and supporting policy makers with robust evidence to improve the multi-agency response to domestic abuse in Scotland.

  • Victims/survivors will better understand the process they are at the centre of, so they get the right support for themselves and can help make others safer, sooner
  • Policy makers (at local, regional, and national level) will be supported to achieve their Equally Safe strategy with robust evidence, expert advice, and the voices of survivors
  • Maracs will become more embedded within public protection systems, so they help achieve the best outcomes and increase safety for women and children consistently across Scotland

What does the Safer, Sooner programme involve?

  • A helpdesk for professionals in Scotland who are looking for support or guidance on Marac.
  • A Marac Coordinators forum and a Marac Chairs Network for professionals to come together to benchmark the effectiveness of their Marac, as well as for seeking practical support from peers across the country and discussing any operational challenges.
  • A Safer, Sooner Network where domestic abuse professionals bring practice experience, review common issues and share improved responses as well as hearing from guest speakers
  • Dedicated support to Maracs to review their effectiveness and operation.
  • The creation of specialist Marac resources to help guide Scottish Maracs.

If you would like to join our Marac Coordinators forum, Chairs Network, have a Marac-related query or wish to receive support in reviewing your local Marac, please contact us.

Contact the Scotland team

Join the Safer, Sooner Network


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Safer, Sooner Domestic Abuse Network

Information on the Safer, Sooner Domestic Abuse Network, a safe space to facilitate discussion and peer support for domestic abuse professionals from across Scotland.

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