DAV Change Project

Domestic abuse and child protection – thinking and doing differently

Published: 01/12/2021

Author: Research in Practice

Timed to align with the 16 Days of Action against Domestic Violence we are launching a suite of resources intended to support new conceptual and practice developments when responding to families where there is Domestic Violence and or Abuse (DVA).

The resources, developed in partnership with the University of Huddersfield and the University of Sheffield, have been produced as part of a Research in Practice Change Project that explored DVA as a key driver of demand in child protection, drawing on international research, practice initiatives and family expertise. The aim is to support fundamental re-thinking of children’s social care responses to DVA in order to develop humane and socially transformative approaches.

These resources are intended to support practitioners and policy makers in service design and practice with families where DVA is an issue of concern. They include:

  • A six-part series of short films in which Professor Brid Featherstone presents research evidence on key themes in relation to DVA such as typologies of domestic abuse, working with men, and the intersections of poverty and other structural inequalities in the lives of families experiencing a children’s social care involvement.
  • An analysis of data from a case file audit conducted by Change Project participants providing an insight into the current picture regarding child protection work with families where DVA is an issue of concern.
  • A five-part podcast series in which practice leaders discuss innovative practice and system change in working with DVA and child protection.
  • A three-part podcast series: co-produced with a mother who has experienced DVA and child protection intervention and who led the lived experience sessions on the Change Project.

As one participant reflected:

‘[these sessions] brought home to me again the impact of institutional re-victimisation and [how] services have to follow a set process rather than listening, hearing and responding to need – and how at times practice/responses can be blinkered and sometimes miss the bigger picture of what is happening for those who are impacted upon by DA…the immediate changes services wish to see are often unrealistic and counterproductive to what the family need and can immediately achieve – and do not reflect the issue of the trauma experienced [historic or current]’

Change Project participant, 2021

The resources support a whole family approach to DVA and child protection and aim to radically reconceptualise dominant practice and policy approaches, aspiring to sustain culture and systems change.

The resources are suitable for use across child protection, domestic abuse services and allied professions, the aim is that these resources are utilised to embed change and improve practice to enable better outcomes for mothers, fathers and children experiencing DVA.

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Domestic abuse and child protection: Change Project

These resources are intended to support practitioners and policy makers in service design and practice with families where there is a perpetrator of Domestic Violence or Abuse.
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