The success of our whole system approach to domestic abuse has been underpinned by strong leadership and governance from the Southend Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Strategic Board, chaired by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex. The board ensures a common ethos and co-ordinated approach to innovate, drive change and address domestic abuse across Essex, Southend and Thurrock. Representation on the board has also improved with, for example, senior health involvement on both this group and other DA workstreams and governance groups boosted by aforementioned work to improve case finding and support in health settings.
Other governance arrangements reporting to the board support the delivery of our DA strategy including most notably the Essex Domestic Abuse Joint Commissioning Group which oversees a range of task and finish groups in delivering our joint commissioning intentions; an operational group overseeing the work of the JDATT and MARAC and a Provider Group which ensures providers are both kept aware of what is going on and are able to inform development.
Other factors supporting achievements we have made so far include our experience of:
- Joint commissioning – the new IDVA service for victims of Domestic Abuse is a great example of partners jointly commissioning a new service. It has consolidated the transition to a sustainable delivery model which commissions for outcomes and extends the advocacy function outside criminal justice contexts. While the service is in its infancy it is proving beneficial in terms of being a clear and consistent referral pathway to co-ordinate and align a range of existing and going forward new services.
- Pooling resources and funding - JDATT/MARAC as an example of co-locating professionals from a large and increasing range of agencies and collectively pooling funding to pay for administrative support and to support the implementation of a new case management system. Involvement in the DRIVE perpetrator pilot (one of only 3 pilots nationally) is another example, relying on our ability to pool partner budgets within Essex to match fund contributions from non-Essex based agencies.
- Improved data sharing – Achieved through the co-location of agencies and revisions to processes as part of JDATT/MARAC and looking forward through plans in development to introduce a new Case Management System. Also Highlighted through the DA Housing Database development
- A focus on early intervention and prevention - Illustrated through the Risk Avert programme addressing risk at an early stage before significant cost the public purse. Likewise through planned work in health designed to identify DA cases at an earlier stage before the issue would become known to the Police. The housing database will also identify victims at an earlier stage and link them into services where appropriate.
- Increase commercial awareness – As co-designers of the Risk Avert module this is a product now both free to use across Greater Essex and also with potential for income generation when used outside of the county, with significant interest in its use already being shown.
- Collectively accessing new funding streams - Central to our DA in Health work has been our ability to secure the funding from central government (i.e. Transformation Challenge Award Grant) through producing strong collective bid documents from partners across Greater Essex.
- Greater recognition of a whole systems approach to DA – how activities all fit together from improved case finding (e.g. health work) into triaging arrangements, and from these access to services (IDVA’s/community based services/perpetrator programmes).