Background The MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences) is implemented in 22 cities in Finland. The goal of MARAC is to provide a forum for sharing information and taking actions to reduce harm to high-risk domestic violence victims. The MARAC model was first developed in Cardiff, in 2003, in response to lack of systematic risk assessment amongst agencies responding to domestic violence and the need for a forum for local agencies to share information about victims experiencing extremely serious levels of abuse.
Methods The aim of this presentation is to evaluate in what extent these multi-agency meetings are able to reduce harm to high-risk victims and their children. The data consist of all the cases which have been referred to MARAC in Finland 1.10.2010–31.3.2014 (n = 259). Two forms of data were collected. Firstly, police files were pulled six months after the MARAC was held. Secondly the data was collected through support persons and by interviewing the victims about victims experiences of violence six-months after the MARAC was held.
Results Results showed that the MARAC method has successfully reduced the number of recurrent domestic violence reported to the police. The re-victimisation was reduced in more than 70 per cent of the cases, and no new reports of recurring violence were filed with the police during the six-month follow-up period. Victims themselves reported that even though the physical violence had stopped, almost 40 per cent of them still experienced various forms of stalking.
Conclusions The results showed that is also important to pay attention to the prevention of stalking while helping the high-risk domestic violence victims. Stalking was criminalised in the beginning of 2014. Besides the law, professionals in the social and health care services, law enforcement, and criminal justice need more knowledge and tools on stalking. MARAC also, is one useful method to help the victims of stalking.
- Domestic violence
- risk identification
- reducing violence