The impact of domestic abuse is much greater than you may think
By Julie Blakey, MATAC Analyst, Whole System Approach to Domestic Abuse
MATAC (Multi Agency Tasking and Coordination) brings together different agencies to problem solve around some the most serial and harmful perpetrators of domestic abuse, namely those who move from victim to victim, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake, and causing tremendous pressure on many partner resources from police to housing to social care.
Selling the idea of a “MATAC” has not always been easy; it has challenged the mind set of police and many of the partner agencies we work with. The idea of targeting the perpetrator for intervention is very outside of the “norm”. Our multi agency processes and conferences are usually centred around victims, and efforts are focussed towards safeguarding the victim/s and any children affected. The traditional way of dealing with perpetrators of domestic abuse is to arrest and remand them if there is sufficient evidence, and allow the courts to deal with them. However, not all perpetrators can be arrested, held on remand, and their cases may be dropped before getting anywhere near a court. And unfortunately, simply arresting a perpetrator doesn’t reduce incidents and crimes of domestic abuse. Other interventions are needed.
It isn’t until you can aptly demonstrate the amount of harm caused and the consequential drain on resources that partners start to understand the need to tackle the source of our domestic abuse problem: those who actively perpetrate this behaviour.
As a researcher for the Cleveland MATAC, one of the first people I profiled for the MATAC process was someone who had targeted seven vulnerable women and perpetrated domestic abuse towards them, who all needed safeguarding and support from multiple agencies to help them recover and move on. But the abuse had also, as it very often does, had an adverse effect upon the children of these women too, and they too needed help and support to cope and make sense of the frightening and abusive behaviour they witnessed and experienced.
The diagram below shows a ‘relationship map’ of these vulnerable women, and their children, who all suffered because of one perpetrator’s behaviour, and who are still affected by it two years later. Because in that two year period, this perpetrator has repeatedly targeted both ex and current partners, and continues to use power and control to cause further distress and harm to both his victims and their associated children.
Seven women. 15 children. 22 human beings in total. 22 victims. All suffering because of the abusive behaviour of one individual.
I’m drawing attention to this to highlight the impact and harm that is caused by serial DV perpetrators. This shows the need for a targeted process, such as MATAC, where police can work with support services and local authorities to tackle the perpetrator’s behaviour directly and bring it to an end. In my opinion, this one case alone gives us the justification for having introduced the MATAC process, and working as hard as we can, using all available resources, to stop the harm being caused by perpetrators and to bring the cycle of violence to an end.
Posted on Friday 30th November 2018