What to do when…
Domestic Violence Informed Practice Tips for Supervisors

SDM households change e.g. the family separates during life of case? 

How do we use SDM tools in this situation?

  • “Secondary caregiver no longer lives in the home”
    • Remember the initial SDM risk assessment is completed on the primary and secondary caregivers in the home at the time of the incident
      • If the perpetrator moves out during the investigation and the case remains open in FBSS, the SDM risk reassessment will be completed on both households, with each caregiver as their household’s primary caregiver
      • If father causes the violence you still need to assess safety related to his ability to safety plan
      • Assess his pattern and access versus the relationship status or where the parents are living

Supervisors need to be on the lookout for indicators of fear or resistance.

A worker appears to be intimidated or fearful of the perpetrator.

This will not always be directly disclosed. Supervisors need to be on the lookout for indicators of fear or resistance. This could include not finding the perpetrator, or not bringing back details of conversation about violence. Supervisors need to be clear about their expectations related to engagement of perpetrators, and to offer non-judgemental support for their workers in this area. Having workers shadow a domestic-violence informed worker interviewing the perpetrator may be one option to help them build confidence.

A worker is engaging in victim blaming.

Supervisors should use pivoting as practice tool to help the workers shift their focus back to the perpetrator. Ask, “Who is the person who caused the harm we are worried about?”

A worker is not fully assessing the adult survivor’s strengths. 

The supervisor needs to ask specific behaviorally focused questions that encompass not just safety but child well being and family functioning, e.g., “what are the ways this mother has helped soothe her children and help them heal after each incident of violence?” “How has she continued to meet the children’s basic needs and get them to school in the face of the father’s abusive and controlling behavior?”

A worker is not connecting the dots between domestic violence and other issues.

The supervisors needs to use the “intersections” framework to ask questions about how the perpetrator’s pattern may be impacting these other issues, e.g., “What do we know about her relapses? How has his behavior helped or hindered her sobriety?”