• Claire Verney

How can you Ensure that you have a Qualified Expert for Family Court Cases?

How to use an expert checklist to help you make the right choice for your client and help safeguard children from harm.



If you need to commission a domestic abuse risk assessment for your case you need to ensure that you are using the right expert.


A checklist has been developed to help you make the right choice for your client.




Guidelines were created by a number of domestic abuse organisations (AVA, CAADA, Family Rights Group, Imkaan, Respect, Southall Black Sisters, Women’s Aid) to ensure that when professionals are commissioning domestic violence risk assessments in family law proceedings they are using an appropriate expert. It was suggested that assessors need to possess a number of key competencies. These competences are discussed in our blog post 'What is the Essential Criteria for Commissioning a Domestic Abuse Expert for Family Court Cases?'


In order to ensure that assessors possess these criteria a checklist is recommended that commissioners can employ as follows:


1. Experience - The assessor is able to demonstrate at least 4 years’ experience of working directly in the field of domestic violence. Direct work means working specifically to address domestic abuse and should not be taken to mean any type of work with perpetrators and victims, such as treatment for, or assessment of, mental health issues.


2. Qualifications - The assessor has at least a graduate qualification in a relevant discipline (e.g. Social Work or Psychology) and has successfully completed post-graduate training in a relevant discipline and in domestic violence risk assessment methodology.


3. Analysis - The assessor analyses the court bundle, and in forming an opinion, draws upon multiple sources of information, including interviewing the victim of abuse (the subject of the assessment should never be the sole source of information).



DV-ACT Assessors


All of DV-ACTs assessors meet the criteria set out in the guidance so you can be confident that a DV-ACT assessor will tick every box in the checklist.


Resources

DV-ACT Assessments

Guidance for commissioning a domestic abuse risk assessment

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