Peckover, Sue and Everson, Angela (2012) Engaging families, engaging fathers: Domestic abuse and safeguarding children. In: NSPCC New Horizons in Safeguarding Children, 23-24 May 2012, Manchester. (Unpublished)

Safeguarding children affected by domestic abuse is a key priority, but there are practice challenges in achieving this. The MAZE project based at WomenCentre in Calderdale is an innovative specialist domestic abuse project that undertakes intensive work with women affected by domestic abuse and their partners. MAZE was established in response to an identified need to support women affected by domestic abuse who were wishing to remain with their partner, and uniquely offers a service to both women and their male partners, with a particular focus on ‘hard to reach’ clients.

This paper will describe the MAZE project and present findings from the small evaluation undertaken in 2011 which involved case analysis, interviews with service users, other professionals and project workers. Key findings included high levels of engaging clients and provision of practical and emotional support, challenges and successes of undertaking work with male perpetrators, and positive outcomes in relation to the safety and welfare of children and women. Of key importance to the MAZE model of working is the central focus on the safety of women and children, and understanding, assessing and addressing the risks and responsibilities of the domestic violence behaviours. Importantly these understandings were communicated in individual work with clients and as part of MAZE involvement in multi-agency child protection work.

The MAZE project is an example of innovation in service user led organisations and demonstrates new directions for working with high risk families; some of the learning is currently being developed in further project work.

Paper given at NSPCC Conference New Horizons in Safeguarding Children. May 2012
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