[Skip to content]

Your Borough Of Poole

MARAC (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference)

What is MARAC?

MARAC stands for Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference. It is a victim-focused process involving multiple organisations working together to protect high risk domestic abuse victims.

Professionals from different organisations can refer victims to MARAC if they believe them to be at high risk of harm, based on the outcome of a risk assessment and their own professional judgement. They then meet with other agencies at a MARAC meeting to discuss how they will support the victim and keep them safe.

The Poole MARAC has been in operation since 2007. It meets monthly and is chaired by the Police. Representatives attend from different organisations, including children's and adults services, health, mental health, probation, local authority housing departments, drug and alcohol services, CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) and specialist domestic violence service providers such as refuges and outreach projects.

The risk assessment process, MARAC procedures (including referral) and standards for operating MARAC meetings have been developed by SafeLives, which is a national organisation supported by the Home Office.

Return to top of page

The aims of the MARAC are to:

  •  Share information to increase the safety, health and well-being of victims and their children


  • Determine whether the perpetrator poses a significant risk to any particular individual or the general community

  • Construct and implement a risk management plan that provides professional support to all those at risk and that reduces the risk of harm

  • Reduce repeat victimisation

  • Improve agency accountability

  • Improve support for staff involved in high risk domestic violence cases

Return to top of page

Who can be referred to MARAC

  • Any victim who meets the 14 tick threshold on the SafeLives Dash risk assessment should be referred to MARAC
  • Cases which do not make the 14 tick threshold but where, in the professional judgment of the person undertaking the assessment, the risk is still high should also be referred
  • Cases meeting the threshold where the victim is aged between 16 and 18 years can now be referred to MARAC
  • Cases meeting the threshold where the victim is an adult and the perpetrator is a child or young person can now be referred to MARAC. The perpetrator in cases such as this should be referred to children's social care
  • Cases that have been to MARAC in the past 12 months where further incidents have taken place (whether reported to the police or not), should be referred back to MARAC, irrespective of the number of ticks on the risk assessment
  • If, on completion of the risk indicator checklist, the case does not meet the MARAC threshold consider other support, you may need to give the victim within your agency and signpost to other specialist services available locally and nationally.

Return to top of page

The referral process

The responsibility to take appropriate action rests with the individual agencies - the MARAC is the process through which information is shared. Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) will represent the victim at the MARAC and ensure that action plans are carried out.

Any agency can refer a victim's case to the MARAC by following the procedure below:

  • Complete the SafeLives Dash Risk Assessment. This can be downloaded in multiple languages from the SafeLives website. 14 ticks or more meets the MARAC threshold and the case should be referred

  • Before making the referral discuss the case with your line manager, supervisor or MARAC representative and consider what immediate actions you and your agency need to undertake to support the victim, and their children, and increase their safety. This might include advising the victim to contact the police

  • Complete the MARAC referral form, giving as many details as possible, including reference to the number of ticks on the DASH risk assessment and an explanation of the reasons for referring on professional judgement if the 14 tick threshold has not been met. If there are no children please state this clearly on the form
  • If appropriate, contact the victim to inform them that their case is going to MARAC and seek their consent. In some cases, contacting the victim may increase their risk or they may not consent to the referral being made. If this is the case, information can still be shared between partners but this must be proportionate to the level of risk of harm to a named individual or household

  • Send the MARAC referral form and the completed risk indicator checklist by secure E mail to the MARAC administrator at marac@dorset.pnn.police.uk. To use secure E mail you will need to send the email from your own secure E mail address (secure E mail addresses are those including pnn, gsi, gcsx, nhs.net and cjsm) and mark it RESTRICTED

  • When you make a referral to the MARAC please advise the representative who attends the MARAC meeting for your agency

  • You will receive an acknowledgement of your referral and be advised of the date when the case will be heard at the MARAC

  • The Police's Domestic Abuse Unit will automatically refer all MARAC cases to the IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor) Service. An IDVA will then make contact with the victim before the MARAC meeting.

Full details of how the MARACs operate in Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole can be found in the MARAC Operating Protocol (pdf, 154kb)

Return to top of page

MARAC training

Half day MARAC awareness training courses are available for practitioners. 

The course is free of charge and has been designed to give an overview of the MARAC process and to develop awareness of risk and how to assess it. 

At the end of the course, participants will:

  • Be able to explain the MARAC process
  • Have learned about the SafeLives Dash risk assessment & how to undertake it
  • Have learned about information sharing in the MARAC context
  • Know how to refer high risk victims to the Poole MARAC
  • Understand their role as part of the MARAC process

The course will be of particular relevance to those working directly with client groups likely to be affected by domestic violence and abuse. This includes police officers, social workers, social workers, health practitioners (including GPs, dentists, health visitors, midwives, pharmacists), teachers, solicitors, housing officers, those working in the voluntary sector, those working with children and those working in drug and alcohol support agencies.

For more information and to book a free place on the course, visit our training pages.

Please note, before you can book a place on the MARAC training you will need to attend the Domestic Abuse Awareness Training. This is a full-day course and costs £50. For more information and to book a place, visit our training pages.

Return to top of page

Related pages

Contact us

Send completed MARAC referral forms, along with the SafeLives Dash risk assessment, to: marac@dorset.pnn.police.uk