Tackling domestic abuse in Fife – 10 years for ground-breaking Initiative

Contact details for people experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence

OVER 2650 victims, identified and assessed as being at very high risk of significant harm of domestic abuse in Fife, have been supported through MARAC – a multi-agency risk assessment conferencing process – since it was set up 10 years ago.

MARAC helps to identify high risk domestic abuse victims and, by agencies working together, has reduced the risks of further incidents and harm to others, including children, across Fife.

Domestic abuse is a gendered crime primarily affecting women and children many of whom are not safe in their own homes and continue to be harassed long after leaving their abuser. Domestic abuse is characterised by escalation in severity and frequency. It is about misuse of power and coercive control. High risk cases are identified across the whole of Fife.

It is a fundamental right to feel safe at home, yet last year there were:

  • 437 individuals (including 421 women) assessed as being very high risk involving 451 babies, children and young people
  • 19% of victims report stalking
  • 32% of cases involved a weapon
  • Every MARAC meeting heard about cases of strangulation

Fife Council’s Community and Housing Services Convener, Councillor Judy Hamilton, said: “MARAC makes a significant contribution to tackling domestic abuse in Fife.

“It’s entirely unacceptable that anyone should be experiencing domestic abuse. Of course, we recognise that any person, male or female can be in this situation; however, we are aware that most of the victims helped and supported by MARAC, are women and children “

“The Multi-Agency nature of MARAC means that all the partners can work together with families to recognise the best way forward together.

“It’s very empowering for families to have the support of many partners – and I thank all of our partners who work to tackle domestic abuse in all its forms – and make Fife a safer place.“

One person who has been helped by MARAC, shared their story, saying: “Going through the MARAC process got me support from Fife Women’s Aid. I would never have asked for help had I not been referred by MARAC. I had a home security review and police marked my address so it was known there was domestic abuse which helped me feel safer at the time…Being believed and having the support for me and my children has helped us heal and come to terms with our experience, and has given me the confidence to go on. I have now started a college course in social care and would like to help others. The whole process has made me feel safer and more confident”

Scott Cunningham, Detective Chief Inspector with Police Scotland, concluded: “As the current Fife MARAC Oversight Group chair, I would like to acknowledge this 10-year milestone and the joined contribution and commitment by agencies to support victims of domestic abuse in Fife. Domestic abuse is despicable and debilitating which affects all of our communities and has no respect for ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.

“We constantly strive to improve referral pathways to provide victims with access to specialist support and information that can reduce the risk of further abuse, managing the risk to victims and improve their safety. Children living in homes where domestic abuse occurs are also victims of abuse.

“Domestic abuse is everyone’s business and no one organisation/service can address it on their own. Therefore, there is no doubt that the positive collaborative working with MARAC partners is key to reduce the harm caused by domestic abuse and to prevent further abuse from taking place.”

Despite Covid-19 restrictions, help is still available 24/7. For some, covid-19 has actually made life even more difficult for many living with abusive partners so, if you, or someone you know, is living with domestic abuse there are a number of agencies who can help. Talk to someone who understands. And in an emergency dial 999.