Australian minister on fact finding visit to the MASH

4 July 2017

The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) in Annesley, one of only a handful of hubs in the country that handles referrals about children and adults, will host an Australian state minister on a fact-finding visit about family violence.

The Hon Gavin Jennings, the Victoria Special Minister of State, wants to know more about the challenges and successes of the MASH in the UK as the Victorian Government has committed to establishing 17 support and safety hubs across Victoria by 2021.

Last year, the MASH in Nottinghamshire handled 21,440 referrals about children and 5,679 referrals about adults, roughly half of which resulted in an assessment by social care.

Figures from 2014 reveal that 27,400 adults across the county experienced domestic violence and abuse (DVA) in one year (4% of the adult population). Figures also show that just 21% of DVA incidents are reported to the police.

The MASH is staffed by a 65-strong team made up of Nottinghamshire County Council social workers, early intervention workers, education, adult safeguarding and trading standards officers, Notts Police domestic violence and child protection units, Notts Fire and Rescue representatives and NHS specialists.

A dedicated phone number allows professionals such as nurses, teachers, police officers, doctors, midwives and housing officers to report abuse or safeguarding concerns.

Mr Jennings, a Member of Parliament in Victoria since September 1999, is keen to learn from the UK’s experience of designing, developing and implementing the MASH model.

He said: “I’m very happy to be visiting the MASH in Annesley and talking to people who have been instrumental in the MASH’s success here.

“Family violence is preventable but it will take focus and commitment over many years to change the attitudes and behaviours that cause it.

“The network of support and safety hubs being introduced in Victoria will provide people with easy and early access to the assistance they need and clear referral points for the police, social care, health and other services handling cases of family violence.”

Facts and figures relating to domestic violence in Nottinghamshire:

  • In 2015 – 2016 Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid and Women’s Integrated Services, both commissioned by Nottinghamshire County Council, supported 2,228 women, 233 men, 88 teenagers and 530 children and young people
  • 27,400 adults can expect to experience DVA in one year = 67% of whom are women & 33% men
  • In 75% of cases, the DVA is witnessed by children and young people
  • 15 domestic homicides in Nottinghamshire since 2011
  • 21% of DVA incidents are reported to the Police
  • Economic cost of DVA in Notts is estimated to exceed £79m pa

Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council Councillor Kay Cutts MBE said that the MASH had demonstrated in the last four years an excellent example of effective and consistent partnership working and she was very happy to share the county council’s experiences with Mr Jennings.

Coun Cutts said: “The MASH allows information sharing and swift decisions to be made about the most appropriate action on a case by case basis.

“As well as reducing the risk of harm to vulnerable children and adults, it has highlighted potentially vulnerable families early on so that action can be taken before the situation deteriorates further, which in turn avoids valuable time being wasted.”

The Mash’s Operations Manager Merlin Tinker added: “The MASH has proved a successful partnership between agencies in Nottinghamshire and we have undoubtedly protected people more effectively with social workers, the police and health workers working together to provide consistent information, advice and support to professionals who may have a safeguarding concern.

“We are delighted to share our findings with the state minister and we hope his trip to Nottinghamshire is both informative and beneficial.”

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