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What are your responsibilities?

Where a member of the public requests personal advice/support s/he should be signposted to the most appropriate service in relation to domestic abuse, i.e. Black Country Women's Aid  support and advocacy service, for both male and female victims regardless of sexuality.  Support is available 24 hours a day.  Where someone is in immediate danger, always phone the police on 999.

Where domestic abuse has resulted in a direct or indirect physical injury to a child, Child Protection Procedures will be followed, in line with 'Working Together to Safeguard Children'.  Further details about safeguarding children in Sandwell can be found by visiting the Sandwell Safeguarding Children Board.  

Where domestic abuse puts a vulnerable adult at risk then the Adult Protection Policy and Procedures should be followed.  Vulnerable adults are defined as people, aged over 18 who are in receipt of, or who may be eligible for, Community Care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation'.

A Domestic Abuse Stalking and Honour Based Violence (DASH) risk assessment may need to be undertaken to assist in identifying the level of risk from domestic violence and the most appropriate response.  The DASH risk assessment tool is an evidence based risk identification check list designed to increase the likelihood of a victim of domestic abuse being responded to appropriately and therefore addressing the risks they face.  If you are not confident in using the DASH, refer the victim to Black Country Women's Aid

The Barnardo's Screening Tool (BST) can be used to assess the level of risk in those cases of domestic abuse where children and young people are involved. It is designed to identify risks to children/young people from domestic abuse.  It is a multi-agency risk identification safeguarding tool which assesses the level of risk to a child/young person who is experiencing domestic abuse in their family using four threshold levels.  It also assesses the level of risk to the mother, incorporating adult focused risk factors by identifying the nature and level of the perpetrator's violence and abuse.  If you are concerned about risks to children and young people, contact Sandwell Children's Trust on 0121 569 3100 (24 hours).   

If victims are at high risk of harm, a referral to a Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) will be needed.  MARAC is a multi-agency risk assessment conferencing system for high risk victims of domestic abuse (those at risk of homicide or serious harm) aged 16 years and over.  The Sandwell MARAC meets fortnightly and information is shared between agencies to produce a risk focused, co-ordinated safety plan to support the victim. For all general queries around MARAC referrals and MARAC meetings email marac_referrals@west-midlands.pnn.police.uk or call 101 ext 811 3048

If you are unsure what to do, contact your own manager/safeguarding teams or the council Domestic Violence Team.  It cannot be emphasised enough how important it is for the victims safety that policy is followed at all times.  Situations involving domestic violence are potentially life threatening.