A Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) is a victim focused information sharing and risk management meeting attended by all key agencies, where high risk cases are discussed. The role of the MARAC is to facilitate, monitor and evaluate effective information sharing to enable appropriate actions to be taken to increase public safety. In a single meeting, MARAC combines up to date risk information with a timely assessment of a victim's needs and links those directly to the provision of appropriate services for all those involved in a domestic abuse case: victim, children and perpetrator.
The idea started in Cardiff in 2001 and the evaluation of the project showed:
- repeat victimisation had fallen city-wide from around 38% to under 10%
- over 40% of survivors whose cases have been subject to a domestic abuse MARAC have suffered no further abuse after a year
- of those survivors who did suffer further abuse, they reported it at a much earlier stage than had previously been the case
- the number of victims who have refused to make a complaint after a police call out has fallen from 54% to 14% demonstrating a massive increase in public confidence
- in 2001 there were 11 domestic abuse related murders whereas in 2006 there was 5
- 17% reduction of children on Child Protection Register and on register for shorter length of time.
What are the aims of a MARAC?
- to share information to increase the safety, health and well being of victims – adults and their children
- to determine whether the perpetrator poses a significant risk to any particular individual or to the general community
- to identify outstanding aspects of risk assessment in regard to the victim, children or perpetrator that need referral or progress
- to pulled together a risk management plan that provides professional support to all those at risk and that reduces the risk of harm
- to reduce repeat victimisation
- to improve agency accountability and
- improve support for staff involved in high risk domestic abuse cases.
Who attends the MARAC?
The following agencies might attend MARACs. The agencies invited should be any that have a role to play in the victim and children's safety, so it is crucial to have non-criminal justice system groups there as referrals can be made to a MARAC from any agency. It is helpful if there is a consistent person who is nominated to represent there agency known as a Designated MARAC Officer (DMO).
- police (officer to report on cases and other public protection officers as necessary)
- children's social care
- independent domestic violence advisors
- specialist domestic violence services including local Women's Aid or other refuge provider and specialist projects supporting minority communities and group
- health representatives (midwifery, health visitors, child protection nurse and hospital staff as appropriate)
- mental health
- homelessness team
- local drug and alcohol services
- children and family court advisory and support service (CAFCASS).
There may be additional attendees as individual cases dictate such as:
- community based and voluntary perpetrator programmes
- national association of child contact centres (NACCC) local centre representative
- children's support organisations
- county or local authority domestic abuse coordinator.
The victim does not attend the meeting, nor does the perpetrator, nor the Crown Prosecution Service.