Part 2: MARAC as a Model of Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Working
What is a MARAC?
Domestic abuse is a fundamental violation of human rights and no level of domestic abuse is acceptable. Domestic abuse can escalate into stalking, sexual assault and murder and we have a duty to take steps to protect those at the greatest risk of harm.
MARACs are regular, local meetings where information about domestic abuse victims at risk of the most serious levels of harm (including murder) is shared between representatives from a range of local agencies to inform a coordinated action plan to increase the safety of the victim and their children.
The victim does not attend the meeting but is represented by an Independent Domestic Abuse Advocate (IDAA) - who supports victims (through risk assessment, safety planning and institutional advocacy) and makes sure their views are heard, that agencies are held to account and that victims are kept informed after the meeting.
At the heart of a MARAC is the working assumption that no single agency or individual can see the complete picture of the life of a victim, but all may have insights that are crucial to their safety. MARAC, with its focus upon working collaboratively to ensure the safety of domestic abuse victims and their children, allows partners involved to share those insights and to develop robust and effective safety plans.
There is no statutory obligation to hold MARACs. The Scottish Government funds SafeLives to support the development of MARACs across Scotland and SafeLives independently collects and reports on Scottish MARAC data.
The 4 aims of MARAC are:
- To safeguard victims (and their children);
- Make links with other public protection arrangements in relation to children, perpetrators and vulnerable adults;
- Safeguard agency staff; and
- Address the behaviour of the perpetrator.
There are currently MARACs operating in 26 local authorities in Scotland with the remaining 6 in various stages of development.
To explore further the potential for developing a collaborative approach that underpins MARAC, in 2016 the Scottish Government provided funding to SafeLives to produce a baseline report detailing the position of MARAC in Scotland.
In that report, SafeLives highlighted common challenges and successes of MARAC delivery across Scotland (using the 10 Principles of an Effective MARAC as a framework) and made recommendations about what is required to improve practice. The baseline report was presented to key stakeholders at a roundtable in 2017, and generated discussion which demonstrated there is an appetite to gather further Scottish-specific evidence, and consideration of risk assessment models.
Email: Leonie Stone