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5.2.7 Joint Protocol: MAPPA and MARAC


This is a new chapter for June 2011.

For further information and guidance on Domestic Abuse, please follow the link to the dedicated Domestic Abuse website.


  1. Background
  2. Aim
  3. Purpose
  4. How does the MARAC Work?
  5. How does MAPPA Work?
  6. Overview
  7. General Guidance
  8. Referral of Cases: from MARAC to MAPPA
  9. The Victim Focus: MARAC to MAPPA
  10. Disclosure of MAPPA Meeting Minutes to MARAC
  11. Referral of Cases from MAPPA to MARAC
  12. Victim Care
  13. The Role of the Independent Domestic Abuse Adviser (IDVA)
  14. Conclusion
  15. Review and Governance
  16. Signature

    Appendix 1: Referral Process Letter

    Appendix 2: Referral Form

1. Background

The County Community Safety Board has signed up to the Government’s definition of Domestic Abuse.

‘Domestic Abuse can be defined as “Any incident or threatening behaviour, abuse or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults aged 18 years and over, who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality’. Family members are defined as including mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents whether directly related, in laws or step family. (NPCC formally known as ACPO 2005)

As part of the national drive to tackle domestic abuse under the Government’s Action Plan for Tackling Violence, the intention is to have a MARAC in each part of England and Wales by 2011.

The focus of the MARAC is the protection of high risk adult victims of domestic abuse and their children. The MARAC is complementary to, but does not replace, (Adult and Children) protocols and procedures.

National research provided by CAADA based on a number of evaluations of existing MARAC’s, illustrates the effectiveness of this multi-agency process in co-ordinating the response to domestic abuse, significantly reducing the instances of repeat victimisation and domestic homicides.

This has resulted in the MARAC becoming a central part of the Home Office Co-ordinated Community Response to domestic abuse alongside the Specialist Domestic Abuse Court and Independent Domestic Abuse Advocates and Probation based Women Safety Worker role.

In addition to working alongside MAPPA, MARAC complements the statutory arrangements for the Safeguarding of children and adults, refers into these processes where necessary and appropriate.

MARAC’s have now been launched and are fully operational across Lincolnshire. The three MARAC’s, WEST, SOUTH and EAST. Each MARAC is co terminus to the Basic Command Unit.

The MAPPA was launched in 2001 in Lincolnshire and has proved very successful in managing the risk(s) posed by known violent and sexual offenders thereby reducing serious re-offending and preventing further harm to victims.

Following the publication of the national MAPPA Guidance 2007, issued in 2009, (Version 3.0) it is felt essential whilst acknowledging differing memberships, aims and objectives there is a shared commonality on public protection, albeit with varying levels of focus in particular areas.

2. Aim

The aim of this protocol is to identify how the two multi agency forums will work together to ensure that public protection and reduction of reoffending is achieved, whilst recognising the principal differences between MAPPA & MARAC, to identify where there are potential overlaps and illustrate how we will accommodate this in practice to ensure the most effective and efficient use of resources.

3. Purpose

This protocol is intended to:

  • Enhance relationships between Lincolnshire MAPPA & MARAC;
  • Ensure that practitioners from MAPPA & MARAC understand the commonality & differences of some of the public protection issues they face;
  • Outline the factors influencing referral between MAPPA & MARAC;
  • Identify how the two multi agency forums will interface, and set out clear processes;
  • Explain how we will monitor and review these arrangements.

4. How does the MARAC Work?

MARAC -The MARAC is a multi-agency approach to managing the highest risk domestic abuse cases in a single meeting. The highest risk cases are identified through an agreed risk assessment process, NPCC/CAADA - DASH. Each MARAC meets monthly, with a standing membership, who jointly construct risk management plans for approximately 10-25 of the highest risk domestic abuse cases, assessed by partners in advance.

Representatives are drawn from a range of professionals, e.g. Police, Probation, Crime and Disorder Reduction Team, Health, Housing, Homelessness, Registered Social Landlords, Children’s Services, Adult Safeguarding, Women’s Aid, Victim Support and others as appropriate.

Representatives agree actions for their own agency based on the information that is shared in the meeting. Minutes and actions are checked at the next meeting; however each agency is responsible for achieving their own actions and updating the case management system (MODUS).

Each agency is also responsible for ensuring that each case is ‘flagged’ within their own system, to ensure that any repeat incident is brought back to the MARAC.

The definition of a repeat incident based on the CAADA definition of incidents where any of the following types of behaviour has taken place:

  • Violence or threats of violence to the victim; or
  • Where there is a pattern of stalking or harassment; or
  • Where rape or sexual abuse is disclosed.

Any of these categories would in fact be defined normally as criminal behaviour if they became known to the police.

Each agency has formally signed up to an information sharing protocol, and MARAC Delivery Group monitors adherence to the protocol and other related issues.

Key to the success of the MARAC is the role of the IDVA, who ensures that the views of victim are put forward. The IDVA works proactively with all agencies to ensure that the plan is put in place and that the victim is kept up to date.

5. How does MAPPA Work?

MAPPA Responsible Authorities In 2000 the Criminal Justice & Court Services Act placed a statutory obligation on the probation and police services in each area to establish arrangements for the purpose of assessing and managing the risks posed by certain offenders. The Probation and Police services are referred to as the ‘responsible authority’. Following the Criminal Justice Act 2003 the responsible authority were joined by the prison service.

The central purpose of MAPPA is to reduce serious harm from known offenders and prevent further harm to victims, operating to a central principle that risks presented in these typically complex cases cannot be managed by agencies working alone.

There are 3 categories of offender that fall under the MAPPA as defined by the Criminal Justice & Court Service Act (2000) Sections 67 & 68 and re-enacted by the Criminal Justice Act (2003) Sections 325 and 327.

Category 1: Registered sexual offenders, for the period of their registration.

Category 2: Persons convicted of a specified violent or sexual offence and sentenced to at least 12 months imprisonment (excluding registered sexual offenders who will fall under category 1). The legislation is complex for this category and includes those detained under hospital or guardianship orders. This category of offenders usually exits MAPPA when statutory supervision ceases.

Category 3: Other Offenders who do not fall into categories 1 or 2, but because of the offences committed by them (wherever they have been committed) are considered by the Responsible Authorities to pose a risk of serious harm to the public which requires active inter-agency management.

In terms of the of the threshold to MAPPA for Category 3 the offender must already have a conviction (or caution), which demonstrates he/she is capable of causing serious harm to the public and the Responsible Authorities must reasonably consider that the offender may cause serious harm to the public and that a multi-agency approach at level 2 or 3 is necessary to manage the risks.

The MAPPA framework identifies three separate but connected levels at which cases are managed.

  • Level 1: Ordinary multi agency management;
  • Level 2: Active multi-agency management;
  • Level 3: Enhanced multi-agency management (at senior management level).

Level 1 can only be used for Category 1 (registered sexual offenders) or Category 2 (violent and other sexual offenders) because by definition Category 3 offenders (other dangerous offenders), present management issues which require active multi-agency management.

6. Overview

The MARAC is complementary to and has robust links with the local MAPPA and other partnership arrangements.

The table below summarises the essential differences between MAPPA & MARAC:

Non Statutory arrangement for managing risk posed to victims of DA Professional responsibility remains with the individual agency National Indicator NI32
Statutory arrangement to protect the public Authority & professional responsibility with individual agencies
Referred to MARAC as a result of a Risk Assessment which identifies the victim being at high risk

No convictions necessary Police may not be aware of perpetrator
Enters MAPPA dependent on the outcomes of one or more of the following criteria:
  • Conviction for a relevant offence;
  • Length of sentence imposed;
  • Outcome of the risk assessment process.
Victim led
Offender behaviour led
Individual, children and immediate family and new partner considered, also risks to staff supporting the family and wider community
Immediate victim, family & other persons at risk - including staff & the wider community.
Usually Pre-court
Usually Post sentence

Single meeting - targeted efforts, sustained thereafter by general working relationships

Case is brought back to MARAC if there is a repeat. Any agency may bring a repeat back.

Often long term, complex concerns requiring multiple reviews
Offender may have no previous convictions/cautions
Offender must have previous conviction/caution
IDVA team makes direct contact with survivor and holds case load of all survivors referred to the MARAC

IDVA’ s will support survivors in the short term (2-8 weeks) to reduce risk and much longer (3-12 months) if they are involved in court proceedings
Offender managed by lead agency (usually Police or Probation, however can also include YOS and Mental Health Services). In appropriate cases, the Offender Manager will refer the survivor to the Women Safety Worker (WSW) or Victim Liaison Officers (VLO)
Enhancing the safety of the known victims and reducing the risk posed by the perpetrator
Reducing the risk posed by the offender and enhancing the safety of known and future victims

7. General Guidance

Many MARAC cases do not result in a court appearance. Where criminal proceedings are pending, a MARAC is likely to take place before the case reaches a conclusion, which means that there is no conviction for the most recent offence.

The MAPPA Co-ordinator Manager will exercise professional judgement, on behalf of the Responsible Authority, as to the appropriateness of the referral; in terms of the offender meeting the MAPPA eligibility criteria and, particularly in the case of Category 3, the level of risk of serious harm is sufficient to require active multi-agency risk management.

A senior manager from the referring agency must first approve and record the decision to refer to MAPPA utilising the national referral form (Form A).

Where an incident occurs that is risk assessed as being at the highest risk of domestic abuse this would automatically be referred to a MARAC (irrespective of whether the perpetrator is on the Integrated Domestic Abuse Programme).

The County Domestic Management Team will on a monthly basis contact the central MAPPA officer to ascertain whether or not the perpetrator is MAPPA eligible and /or currently subject to active multi agency risk management.

Where an offender is already being managed at MAPPA Level 2 or 3, to avoid duplication of effort and resources, the MAPP meeting should take the lead over the MARAC, as at present the MAPPA is a statutory set of arrangements.

A referral to MARAC may occur prior to active multi agency risk management arrangements commencing, e.g. where there is more than six months prior to release from into the community. The MARAC will take place, but then may hand over the case to the MAPPA.

The MARAC gives added value to the MAPPA process because there is standing meeting with prepared options for the survivor and any children.

In some cases, the perpetrator and/or victim will be located in another geographical area. Where this is the case, agency representatives will be invited to attend the meeting.

8. Referral of Cases: from MARAC to MAPPA

Where examination of the protective measures agreed through the MARAC are deemed insufficient in terms of future ‘defensibility’ tests this will require the chair of the MARAC meeting to consider referral to MAPPA in respect of the offender, provided the MAPPA eligibility criteria threshold is met.

In reality, the majority of MARAC cases will not reach the threshold for MAPPA because of the strict eligibility criteria, particularly in respect of perpetrators of domestic abuse whose previous criminal conviction may not accurately reflect their abusive behaviour and/or risks.

9. The Victim Focus: MARAC to MAPPA

To fulfil the key aims of the MARAC access to the IDVA must be preserved for the highest risk survivors (using the NPCC/CAADA - DASH risk assessment tool). Where survivors have support already in place e.g. Victim Support or Probation WSW, the IDVA will liaise closely with that agency to avoid duplication and confusion and to support a smooth exit strategy for the IDVA.

Inevitably, situations will arise where following a MARAC a victim is afforded the services of an IDVA, and the perpetrator is subsequently subject to MAPPA.

To ensure a smooth handover from the IDVA, enabling the Probation Provider to effectively discharge their statutory responsibilities and continue the work already started by the IDVA, the IDVA must be invited to the MAPP meeting, along with any other professionals who have relevant information.

The MAPP meeting will as it always does, ensure that the risk assessment and the MAPPA Risk Management Plan (MAPPA RMP) effectively identifies and puts in place actions to protect the victim, however the quality of the MAPPA RMP will be enhanced with the additional information that the IDVA and others can provide.

10. Disclosure of MAPPA Meeting Minutes to MARAC  

MAPPA meeting minutes will only be provided to those agencies who attended the MAPPA meeting. Some of these agencies will also attend the MARAC. The full MAPPA minutes must not be disclosed to the MARAC, as not all members will have been present at the MAPPA meeting and therefore, will not have agreed to the confidentiality statement and disclosure of information that the meeting was held under. Nor must the content of the meeting minutes be photocopied or content outside of the meeting without the explicit agreement of the Chair. Minutes should be kept in the restricted or confidential section of agency files. If further disclosure is felt essential, permission must be sought from the Chair of the MAPPA meeting and the decision will be made as to what information can be shared. The same principle applies to the MARAC.

The MAPP meeting minutes must not be shared or copied without the prior approval of the Chair of the MAPP meeting.

11. Referral of Cases from MAPPA to MARAC

Where persons are identified through the MAPPA process as being at the highest risk of domestic abuse, it will be the core meeting members responsibility at the MAPPA meeting to consider the existing support to the victim(s) and/or prospective victim(s) before deciding whether to refer a case to the MARAC to enhance and sustain this support (provided the referral criteria is met). It will be the Chair’s responsibility to identify which agency will make the referral to MARAC.

MAPPA should identify who is at risk and under what circumstances, before formulating a robust risk management plan. The risks of serious harm, particularly when domestic abuse is a factor, can fluctuate and therefore must be continually kept under review, and similarly any subsequent referral to MARAC.

MAPPA should only refer to MARAC where victim is identified as being at the highest risk and requiring advice and support (or more intensive support) from the Independent Domestic Abuse Advisor (IDVA).

12. Victim Care

Victim Liaison Officers

Section 35 of the Domestic Abuse, Crime and Victims Act 2004 places a statutory duty on the Probation Provider to contact victims and ask if they wish to be consulted about the release arrangements for violent and sexual offenders who receive a sentence of imprisonment of 12 months or more.

Section 36 applies where the court convicts a person for a sexual or violent offence or makes a finding of insanity or unfitness to plead and then makes a hospital order with restrictions. The local probation board must take reasonable steps to establish, as in section 35, if the victim of the offence wishes to make representations as to whether the patient should be subject to conditions in the event of his/her discharge from hospital and to receive information about those conditions in the event of his/her discharge.

Where the victims of sexual and violent offences wish to have contact, Probation Victim Liaison Officer’s (VLOs) supply a link between those dealing with the offender and the victim. Sometimes the information VLOs are able to contribute helps decide on appropriate licence conditions for those to be released from prison. Such conditions might include prohibitions on direct contact of named individuals, or exclusions from specified geographical areas. There is also an important contribution in making the panel aware of the effects of the offence(s) on the victims.

Women Safety Worker (WSW’s)

The primary role of the WSW is to work with the victims and the current  partners of men undertaking the Integrated Domestic Abuse Programme (IDAP) in order to promote the safety of women and children and to seek to ensure that the programme of intervention with the male offenders does not put women and children at further risk of harm.

The WSW will provide realistic information to women about the men’s domestic violence programme and possible outcomes; they will share information about men’s attendance on the programme. It is recognised that women who are victims of domestic violence may have longer-term needs for help and support. Women’s Safety Workers facilitate the referral of women to community-based services for on-going support, advice and assistance.

WSW’s contribute to risk management by ensuring that women are informed about any current or emerging risks posed by men attending IDAP, ascertaining if any changes have taken place that have implications for her or her children’s safety and ensuring that any relevant information provided by women is shared promptly with the offender manager responsible for risk management of the offender and the programme team, in order to reduce the risk of repeat offending.

WSW will contribute to the development of a co-ordinated community response to domestic violence by working other local agencies and local women’s services in a positive and inclusive way.

The VLO & WSW unit has well-developed links with other key agencies, including Victim Support, the police, social care services and other local organisations working with victims. The MAPPA protocol should ensure that victim’s concerns are properly represented and considered within the MAPPA system in conjunction with Women’s Safety Worker.

Involvement in MAPPA meetings also enables the VLOs/WSW to keep victims properly informed about key decisions in the management and supervision of offenders.

13. The Role of the Independent Domestic Abuse Advisor (IDVA)

A key aim of the MARAC project is to enhance support services offered to very high risk domestic abuse cases, achieved through the provision of the IDVA. As part of the MARAC agency partner responsibilities all agencies will liaise with the IDVA about the appropriate action for the survivor.

The role of the IDVA is to provide intensive support and advocacy to the highest risk survivors and their children as soon as possible after the point of crisis. They will undertake and review the risk assessment ensuring that the risk management plan is kept up to date with all relevant information.

The IDVA will attend the MARAC, and where appropriate MAPPA, ensuring that the views and the safety of the victim and their children are given priority.

14. Conclusion

In appropriate circumstances, a MARAC could be convened prior to active MAPPA management. The clear focus of MARAC on the protection of the victim should not be lost.

In practice, a MARAC may be convened:

  • At an early stage in the process e.g. before conviction whereas the active MAPPA meeting is more likely to be convened post sentence or prior to release on parole licence;
  • By representatives in the geographical locality of the victim (due to its victim focus), whereas the MAPPA conference is more likely to be convened in the geographical locality of the perpetrator.

Similarly for those men who have a requirement to attend the IDAP as part of a Community Sentence, the requirement for interagency risk assessment and management conferences as a mandatory part of the programme could also be convened as a concurrent MARAC. Again, this may not always be possible, for similar reasons to MAPPA meetings.

15. Review and Governance

This protocol will be reviewed annually by the MAPPA & MARAC Managers, the next review being August 2010 or sooner if required, at the instigation of the MARAC Delivery Group or MAPPA Strategic management Board. Referrals from MAPPA to MARAC and vice-versa will be monitored through the MAPPA Co-ordination Unit and MARAC Administration.

This protocol was developed in consultation with partner agencies and the review will, where appropriate ensure that this consultation process continues.

Key to the effectiveness of this protocol is the need to ensure that training and awareness about MARAC and the links with MAPPA are continuously rolled out.

Following the release of the national MAPPA referral templates,(see Appendices) the MAPPA Coordination unit will be able to centrally collate details of all notifications to MAPPA which involve Domestic Abuse or Abuse Issues.

16. Signature

By signing this agreement, all signatories accept responsibility for its’ execution and agree to ensure that staff are trained so that appropriate referrals are executed and the process of sharing of information itself is sufficient to meet the purposes of this agreement.

Signatories must also ensure that they comply with all relevant legislation.

Appendix 1: Referral Process Letter

Click here to view 'Referral Process Letter'.

Appendix 2: Referral Form

Click here to view 'Referral Form'.