Guidance for multi-agency forums: Mental health

How Marac can support victims and survivors of domestic abuse who also experience mental health problems

This guidance aims to raise awareness of how we support victims of domestic abuse who are also experiencing mental health problems.

We know that people experiencing mental health problems will face additional barriers; to disclosing, to being believed and to accessing services. As such they form a ‘hidden’ group, whose voices are rarely heard. It is important that we identify the barriers, and examine what both frontline practitioners and those with a strategic role can do, to ensure services are more inclusive and responsive.

The NSP brought together a range of people with expertise in mental health and with experiences of multi-agency responses to domestic abuse. Together they looked at four cases involving victims at high risk and/or perpetrators of domestic abuse where mental health was a significant factor. Their remit was to examine the information shared and the actions taken by the multi-agency groups that had originally heard these cases. The panel drew out good practice and areas for development, and the lessons learned helped formulate the recommendations in this report.

Whilst auditing cases for the NSP we found common themes which we have captured in this report. A number of our recommendations have been informed by findings from our National Dataset of Insights services and our recent Spotlight series on domestic abuse and mental health.

What this guidance contains

  • Aim of this report
  • Common themes arising
    • The importance of involving mental health services in ending domestic abuse
    • Unclear and confusing pathways
    • Participation not just representation
    • Trauma informed working
    • Whole person, whole picture approach
  • Prior to Marac
    • A single point of contact with a trusted professional
    • Get the right people around the table
    • Effective Action planning
  • Outside the Marac meeting
    • If you are part of a Marac strategic or governance group
    • If you are a commissioner
    • If you are domestic abuse coordinator or forum

This report also provides various external links and resources about supporting and safeguarding LGBT+ victims.

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