Inspectors praise domestic abuse response in Hounslow

By Joe Lepper

| 14 June 2017

Agencies across the London borough of Hounslow have been praised for their work to support children who have experienced domestic abuse.

Efforts to protect children affected by domestic violence in Hounslow have been praised. Picture: Hounslow Council

A joint targeted area inspection (JTAI) of the multi-agency response to abuse and neglect in Hounslow by Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) found that tackling domestic abuse and supporting victims was a key priority across agencies.

The weekly Hounslow One Stop Shop for families affected by domestic violence was among services singled out for praise. It was found to offer a wide range of effective support, including legal advice as well as provide families with access to police, housing officers and sexual violence advisers.

Inspectors also highlighted the positive work of schools in the borough which are involved with a domestic abuse education programme that addresses issues of violence against women and girls.

In addition, a programme called "Let's Talk" is run for children who have lived in abusive households, using creative techniques to help them understand their experiences.

However, the inspection team said it would like to see some improvements, including more involvement from health workers in strategy discussions, which it said are dominated by police and children's social workers.

They also want health workers to speed up their response to child protection concerns and improve information sharing.

Police in the borough have also been told to make greater use of domestic violence protection notices and orders to protect families.

Meanwhile, although information sharing within the borough's multi-agency safeguarding hub, which fields initial calls of concern, was praised, inspectors were concerned that there were no reasons given for not taking any action in a small number of cases where children where reportedly living with domestic abuse.

In a letter to senior managers across health, social care, justice and police, the inspection team acknowledged that problems had already been identified and that agencies were seeking to address areas of concern.

"Most of these areas for development had already been identified by the partnership, and work is taking place to make improvements. The council leads a strong culture of openness and learning," the letter states.

"The foundations are in place to further improve the response to children living with domestic abuse in Hounslow, with continued prioritisation of resources in this area of practice."

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