Identifying the key components of a ‘whole family’ intervention for families experiencing domestic violence and abuse

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  • 1 University of Central Lancashire, UK
  • | 2 University of Melbourne, Australia
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‘Whole family’ interventions for families living with domestic violence and abuse (DVA) are emerging and some international practice examples are available. This study reports a process evaluation of a pilot delivered in Northern England that aimed to work with all members of families experiencing DVA. The evaluation involved analysis of detailed accounts of practice from learning logs and case workbooks as well as interviews with practitioners and family members. The voluntary nature of families’ involvement with the pilot, together with an explicit service philosophy of ‘meeting families where they are at’ appeared successful in engaging families. Pilot staff worked flexibly, seeing family members together and separately, but there was evidence of lower levels of confidence in work with perpetrators. Co-work enabled skills to be transferred to other professionals and social workers increased their use of risk assessment tools in DVA cases. However, there was uncertainty as to whether interagency communication improved across local agencies, and joint protocols and tools were slow to develop. This study is one of the first evaluations of ‘whole family’ interventions in DVA, and it illustrates how, when additional resources and organisational support are made available, a non-blaming approach that families find engaging can be developed.

  • 1 University of Central Lancashire, UK
  • | 2 University of Melbourne, Australia

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