LOCKDOWN 3: JANUARY 2021
WillisPalmer is continuing to provide our expert social work and psychological services during lockdown. We are utilising technology alongside safe working practices in line with government guidance to enable us to continue supporting vulnerable children and families.

Call 01206 878178 to discuss your requirements.
Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Domestic violence is ‘common risk factor’ in SCR cases

Just over a third of serious incidents occurred while family court proceedings were ongoing, research by Cafcass has found.

A study of 97 Serious Case Reviews found by Cafcass found that in 36% of cases Cafcass was involved with the child at the time of the index incident.

“In a further 39% of cases we had previously known the child,” said the report. “In 25% of cases we did not previously know the child but knew another family member or proceedings were started in respect of the child after the serious harm that triggered the SCR.”

The research found that a substantial majority of incidents were known or thought to have been perpetrated by family members. Fathers were most frequently identified as the suspected perpetrator, but mothers or groups (one/both parents and others) were also often suspected perpetrators.

In eight of the 97 cases the known or suspected perpetrator of the index incident was a member of the extended family, some of whom were Special Guardians.

Men and women were suspected perpetrators of a similar number of incidents of homicide. However, in the few cases of homicides, the report notes how fragile the mental health of some of the female perpetrators seems to have been and how the male perpetrators had histories of domestic abuse and control.

National Child Care Policy Manager Richard Green said: “We also looked at who was known or thought to have been the perpetrator of the incident. We found that the vast majority were family members. There were very few exceptions, and these were mostly cases of child sexual exploitation.”

The study highlights that domestic abuse was the most common risk factor in SCR cases, present at varied risk levels in 71% of the SCRs. Domestic abuse is frequently perpetrated by the father or male partner. However, in 48% of cases featuring domestic abuse, the person thought to have killed or harmed the child was not the alleged domestic abuse perpetrator.

SCR submissions showed that in some cases the risk posed by the violent adult may have masked other less evident risks. “We found many different contexts in which the incident took place, presenting significant challenges for those charged with safeguarding children,” says Richard. “The suspected perpetrator of the serious incident was not necessarily the person that was thought to pose the greatest risk during proceedings. Some children were harmed or died in an alternative placement, or at the hands of the parent considered to be the ‘safe’ one.”

While SCRs do not have predictive value, they do add to our understanding of risk and practice strengths. Cafcass ensures that the learning from fatal or serious maltreatment of children is identified and cascaded at an early stage through a review of the file conducted by the National Improvement Service (NIS).

“SCRs rarely produce new learning, other than when they ‘break new ground’, for example when we contributed to SCRs on child sexual exploitation some years ago. For the most part their value lies in telling us what we already know about what distinguishes strong practice from weak,” said the report.

“We present a number of examples of how the quality of service is raised or lowered by attention to front-loading of the work, planning, sound recording, systematic attention to the needs of the child, and a crisp analysis,” it concluded.

Cafcass learning from SCR submissions

 

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

Practice guidelines to accompany legislative changes on siblings in care

18/04/2021

CELCIS is seeking views to feed into practice guidelines which will accompany some legislative changes to uphold the rights and meet the needs of brothers and sisters with care experience.

Changes are being made to Section 13 of the Children (Scotland) 2020 Act, and the Looked After Children (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021 and most of these [...]

Read Full Story

Working households no guarantee for lifting families out of poverty

18/04/2021

Having an adult in the household in paid work is not sufficient to raise some families out of child poverty in Scotland, official statistics have shown.

While the risk of poverty is much lower for children where someone in the household is in paid work compared to those in workless households, not all work pays enough [...]

Read Full Story

£280 million boost for SEND provision

15/04/2021

The government has announced £280 million funding for special educational needs and disabilities provision.

The funding will be allocated to local authorities to enable them to create new places in early years settings, schools, academies and colleges. The funding can be used to contribute to the cost of creating a whole new special school, or by [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today
Delivering a diverse, reliable range of services to children and their families across the UK
D1, Parkside, Knowledge Gateway, Nesfield Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 3ZL
Contact Us

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

closechevron-downbars linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram