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Information for professionals (FAQs)

How do I support anyone reporting domestic abuse?

You can provide them with the Black Country Women's Aid (BCWA) 24 hour number- 0121 552 6448 . BCWA provide local refuge and support for anyone experiencing domestic abuse.   You can also contact the public protection unit at West Bromwich Police station for advice regarding safeguarding by calling 101 or 0345 113 5000.

Risk assessments

It is important to determine the risk to victims.  The tool to do this is the Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment (DASH) risk assessment checklist. It is important to fill this in with as much detail as possible, preferably with the victim if you have been trained.  You can contact Black Country Women's Aid  if you need help with completing risk assessments.

The situation is high risk if:

  • you tick 14 boxes on the DASH form
  • the abuse is escalating
  • you think the case is high risk based on your professional judgement.

If the situation is high risk, you should make a referral to Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) and the Independant Domestic Violence Advocate service (IDVA). 

Referrals must be made securely to the Regional MARAC team by email at marac_referrals@west-midlands.pnn.police.uk using the MARAC referral form.You can call the senior MARAC coordinator on 07760991794 for advice and guidance.   You should also refer the client to Black Country Women's Aid for IDVA support by calling 0121 552 6448.

What is a Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC)?

The MARAC is a fortnightly meeting where professionals meet to share information on high risk cases of domestic abuse. Information about the risks faced by those victims, the actions needed to ensure safety, and the resources available locally are discussed and used to create a risk management plan involving all agencies. The MARAC is part of a coordinated community response to domestic abuse, incorporating representatives from statutory, community and voluntary agencies working with victims, children and perpetrators.

Aims of the MARAC

  • Share information to increase the safety, health and well-being of victims/survivors - adults and their children;
  • Determine whether the perpetrator poses a significant risk to any particular individual or to the general community;
  • Jointly construct and implement a risk management plan that provides professional support to all those at risk and that reduces the risk of harm;
  • Reduce repeat victimisation; 
  • Improve agency accountability;
  • Improve support for staff involved in high-risk domestic abuse cases.

What are IDVAs?

IDVA stands for Independent Domestic Violence Advisor. In Sandwell, the IDVAs are based at Black Country Women's Aid. 

An IDVA is a named professional case worker for domestic abuse victims whose primary purpose is to address the safety of 'high risk' victims and their children. Serving as a victim's main point of contact, IDVAs normally work with their clients from the point of crisis to assess the level of risk, discuss the range of suitable options and develop coordinated safety plans. They attend MARAC as the voice of the victim.

Forced Marriage

Practice guidelines for professionals provide step-by-step advice for frontline workers.  The forced marriage multi-agency guidelines cover:
the responsibilities and obligations of different agencies working with victims  information on protecting, advising and supporting victims
information on making referrals to other agencies and where to turn to for help advice and information for practitioners assisting both male and female victims of forced marriage

Other information

Contact FCO Forced Marriage Unit:
Telephone: 020 7008 0151
Email: mailto:fmu@fco.gov.uk