To tackle domestic abuse, we need to target the source of the problem
By Allison Pitt, MATAC Co-Ordinator, Whole System Approach to Domestic Abuse in Cleveland
It’s coming up to six months since the first Multi Agency Tasking & Coordination (MATAC) meeting took place in Cleveland, with the lofty aim and ambition to challenge and change the behaviour of the most harmful serial and prolific perpetrators of domestic abuse.
(By the way - MATAC is not a typo – many people have heard of MARAC - Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference - which is focussed on victims, but the MATAC is a process for dealing with perpetrators).
We held our first MATAC meeting with partners back in June. Police, local authorities, health workers, probation officers, substance misuse support workers, and housing services were amongst the partners who attended then and have continued to be part of this monthly meeting. The time has flown by.
It won’t surprise you that we have serial and prolific perpetrators of domestic abuse in our area nor will it surprise you that the list is long. Some people abuse partners, some abuse family members and some abuse both but the one thing they have in common is the trail of harm and the destruction of family life that they leave in their wake.
These perpetrators are not only affecting ‘loved’ ones but the innocent children caught up in the abuse through no fault of their own; children are so impressionable and soak up experiences like a sponge – we all know the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences and that is a grim reality.
I keep seeing perpetrators who have lived with domestic abuse in their childhood and they are living, breathing proof that the impact can be massive on their behaviour as an adult.
Today I have been looking to see what our current cohort have been up to – some have been quiet and have not come to police attention, some have been involved in other criminality but thankfully today we have no reports that they have been involved in a domestic.
I’ve had a couple of new referrals to look at – one has been abusing his mother and grandmother, the other has been abusing his partner - yet another victim in a list of five. It makes you wonder why anyone would think it is okay to behave like this.
I’ve got loads of actions to do from our last meeting – arranging service of MATAC letters to perpetrators (to let them know we are monitoring them), checking out a curfew with the management company, updating Children’s Services with developments, arranging safeguarding for victims….to name but a few. All before 10 o’clock.
So, together with our partners, we are working every day to try and make a difference; to support perpetrators to change where they are willing but to disrupt and enforce where they are not. It’s not easy - it can be challenging, it can even be frustrating but it’s worth it. If we can spare one family from going through the trauma of domestic abuse, then it’s time well spent.
#16DAYS #ENDVAW #HEARMETOO #ORANGETHEWORLD
Posted on Monday 26th November 2018