• Claire Verney

Attending DV-ACT Appointments Remotely

With restrictions in place across the country DV-ACT are completing the majority of their appointments remotely using video calling technology. This post is for clients and gives guidance on how you can best prepare for your appointments.

DV-ACT experts have continued to complete assessments and one to one work with parents throughout the Coronavirus crisis. The following is a step by step guide for clients to ensure that your appointments are safe and run as smoothly as possible.

Before the meeting

1. The assessor/treatment worker allocated to your case will call or email you to set up the time and date of your appointment. They will also ask you which video platform you would prefer to use, this can be Zoom, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime or any other video calling app that can be used by both you and the assessor. Please note that if an interpreter is required this may limit the choice of app that can be used.

2. Download the app that you have agreed to use and try it out in advance if possible.

3. If using Zoom, DV-ACT will send you a link with a meeting ID and passcode in advance of your meeting. Please keep this secure.

4. Talk to your social worker in advance if there are likely to be any problems with you completing the appointment safely at home or if you will need help with childcare.

5. Choose what room you are going to use, this should be somewhere as quiet as possible where you will not be interrupted. Make sure the connection in the room is good.

6. If you live with other adults who are not invited to the meeting let them know that they are not to interrupt you. You may find it helpful to stick a 'do not disturb' sign on the door. Having headphones can also be helpful for keeping the conversation private.

7· Arrange childcare in advance of the meeting, or if you have older children give them activities to do and make sure they know not to disturb you in the meeting. It is important that children are not in the room with you while you attend your appointment, this is because the assessor will need to speak to you about violence and abuse which could be harmful for a child to overhear and they may also pick up on any distress that you may feel during the appointment. The appointments can be intense and you need to be able to speak freely without distraction which may be possible even with very young children.

8· Remember that you will need to dress appropriately and should not be under the influence of drink or drugs.

9· Set an alarm for the meeting time to make sure you are up and on time.

10. If for any reason you are not able to go ahead with the meeting you must let DV-ACT know as soon as possible. You can call or text your allocated worker directly or the main office line on 07378423587.

During the meeting

11.Follow the instructions of the assessor/worker, they may ask you to scan around the room to check you are alone.

12· Remember that the meetings are private and confidential and you are responsible for ensuring that the rules are followed in your home. The meeting must not be recorded or overheard by anyone who is not invited.

13. Make sure that your phone is on silent and stay where the camera can see you.

14· Let the assessor/worker know if you need a break and return promptly.

After the meeting

15. Make sure you exit the meeting properly, with Zoom, turning off the device will not end the meeting and those in the meeting may still be able to hear you.

16. You may want to meet with your advocate afterwards, if you have one, and practise self-care, speak to a friend or family member or call the Samaritans if you are feeling upset.

Your safety is important to us so please speak to us if you have any concerns about your safety during an appointment.

Helplines and online support

National Domestic Violence Helpline 24/7 – 0808 2000 247

Womens Aid online help for female victims (Monday to Friday 10:00am - 4:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 10:00am-12:00pm) - https://chat.womensaid.org.uk

The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors – 0808 801 0327

Mens advice online chat for male victims (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – 10 – 11am and 3 – 4pm) - https://mensadviceline.org.uk/contact-us/

Respect phoneline for perpetrators of domestic abuse - 0808 8024040

The Samaritans - 116 123

Family Lives, a confidential helpline service for families in England and Wales (9am – 9pm, Monday to Friday and 10am – 3pm Saturday and Sunday) for emotional support, information, advice and guidance on any aspect of parenting and family life - 0808 800 2222

You can also email for support, advice and information at askus@familylives.org.uk

About us

DV-ACT are a team of domestic abuse experts, available throughout the UK, providing domestic and sexual abuse assessments, consultancy and training to local authorities and the family courts. 

Our experts have decades of experience working directly with domestic abuse perpetrators and victims, as specialist assessors and as expert witnesses in the family courts.

​DV-ACT was formed with the aim of using our expertise to help safeguard children from abuse, this is at the heart of everything that we do.