What is Inspiring Families?

The Calan DVS Inspiring Families Programme is an innovative and structured ten- week assessment programme that can help strengthen and stabilise families where domestic violence and abuse is a known component but the family are choosing to stay together.

The family need not be living together at the point of referral but there does need to be some desire to reconcile their relationship in the future.

How does it work?

The programme is delivered in two separate groups of non-abusing and abusing parents to run in parallel.   

The content of the programme is largely the same for both groups.  The groups run for two hours every week.  The timing of the delivery of the groups is decided at a local level. The programme can inspire a positive change in management of the triggers of previous abusive behaviours, a more valued approached to healthy relationships and improved parenting and understanding of the impacts of exposure to DVA on children.

At the end of the programme an assessment is made and for those families who complete the programme and an action plan is developed, using input from the course facilitators, the partners and the family lead professional. 

The action plan will detail what further support and / or intervention the family need to reduce the impact of DA on the family and children. 

For families who do not complete the programme an assessment will be made on what support or intervention is required.  This could involve several options including supporting a safe and planned exit from the relationship by the mother and children through to commencing legal proceedings to remove children if appropriate.

The programme is an accessible tool and over the 10-weeks we can produce a comprehensive report on the family which indicates:

– The level of risk and abuse typology within the home.

– The potential for change and likelihood of reconciliation.

– The level of care and support needed for children within the home.

– The support the family will need to ensure an abuse-free future.

Why was it created?

The Inspiring Families Programme was created by Rockpool Life following Domestic Homicide Reviews revealing that many specialist agencies are poor at identifying and assessing levels of risk and relationship dynamics. With research clearly demonstrating the devastating impact that living with domestic violence and abuse has on family members, a clear need for addressing this issue in a holistic and family centred way exists.

The Whole-Family Approach

At Calan DVS, we believe we need to work with the whole family to deliver lasting change.

The outcomes of biennial and triennial ‘Serious Case Reviews’ have identified that the rate of child death and serious harm as a result of DVA in families has not reduced over the last 10 years despite focussed efforts to safeguard them from exposure from abusive behaviours.

It is also accepted that DVA is overrepresented in Children Social Care and has a significant disproportionate impact on demand management. 

Through working with the whole family we are able to:

  • Assess and manage the levels of risk that is present in the home.
  • Accurately assess the impact of living in an abusive environment has on the children in the home (and generate immediate harm-reducing action).
  • Identify the abuse typology and potential for change.
  • Identify any disguised compliance
  • Set out a programme of support that is tailored to that family and will increase the chances of significant risk reduction.

Benefits for Families:

  • Families can break the cycle of abuse and create a safer more loving environment in which families can live together.
  • It creates new or different options for families that want to stay together through learning to self-manage stress and risk.
  • Parents have opportunity to be part of their own assessment.
  • Parents have information to support their decision making.
  • Participants have time to reflect on the impact that their behaviours have on their own relationship and their children.
  • The Child’s Voice is part of the assessment process.

Participant Feedback:

“I now know what a healthy relationship and unhealthy relationship is – the course has helped me reflect and observe other relationships.” – Female IF Programme Participant

“It helped me realise what i did wrong and gave the tools to correct it.”  – Male IF Programme Participant

Benefits for Professionals:

  • It provides a robust framework to assess the parent’s behaviour, abuse typology, disguised compliance and the level of risk present;
  • It informs child protection and court decisions in complex situations for providing evidence of risk and impact on children and potential for change; 
  • It provides professionals with the evidence they need to identify the domestic abuse dynamics within the family and enables identification of the type and level of intervention required;
  • It allows professionals to test levels of resilience, skills and motivation that will ensure future contracts with families are realistic and achievable. 
  • It reduces demand management and the need for high cost services; and 
  • It supports professionals to target further resources and interventions correctly leading to better outcomes for children and families

Professionals Feedback:

“It takes account of the father who is important in the child’s life. It is invaluable to focus on men and to offer them the opportunity to make changes in their lives. You can’t reduce risk in a family if no work is done with the dad.”  – Senior Executive, Slough Children’s Services Trust

As part of our ongoing quality assurance and understanding the impact of our first pilot, we commissioned an external Cost Benefit Analysis via Rockpool Life.  The Cost Benefit Analysis looked at family histories which were recorded over 12-months prior to participation and following participation on the Inspiring Families project.

As part of the evaluation, a search was carried out for 30-different types of issues that could be impacted by the programme including DVA incidents, police arrests, admissions to A&E, and CYP days spent in childcare.

To review the Cost Benefit analysis please Click Here