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      The co-occurrence of substance misuse, domestic abuse, and child maltreatment: Can Family Drug and Alcohol Courts play a part?


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          This review article focuses on the inter-relationship between substance misuse, domestic abuse, and child maltreatment, especially in the context of care (child protection) proceedings. It reviews what is known about the prevalence and impact of co-occurring domestic abuse and substance misuse on adult and child victims, and the response of criminal and family law and intervention programmes in supporting families to address these problems holistically. Special attention is paid to the role of Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDACs), a radical problem-solving approach to care proceedings, which provide integrated interventions to the range of co-occurring problems that trigger the proceedings. Despite clear evidence of the greater harm to children when exposed to these two parental difficulties, the review has found a lack of systematic information on the prevalence of co-occurrence and a lack of effective integrated interventions, including within care proceedings. It argues that the FDAC approach is well suited to respond to co-occurring substance misuse and domestic abuse in care proceedings and it has the potential to break down silos across sectors. However, in the absence of empirical evidence, this premise would need testing. A particular focus of the review has been on efforts to overcome silos in practice, law and policy. Promising initiatives are described in criminal and family law to improve the response to domestic abuse that build on the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, the first dedicated domestic abuse legislation in England and Wales. All of them are based on problem-solving approaches used in other jurisdictions. Despite these initiatives, the review concludes that there remain significant barriers to effectively align law, policy and practice to ensure that domestic abuse strategy recognizes and responds to the overlaps with substance misuse.

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          Most cited references86

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          Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework

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            Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults

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              Latent Class Analysis: A Guide to Best Practice

              Latent class analysis (LCA) is a statistical procedure used to identify qualitatively different subgroups within populations who often share certain outward characteristics. The assumption underlying LCA is that membership in unobserved groups (or classes) can be explained by patterns of scores across survey questions, assessment indicators, or scales. The application of LCA is an active area of research and continues to evolve. As more researchers begin to apply the approach, detailed information on key considerations in conducting LCA is needed. In the present article, we describe LCA, review key elements to consider when conducting LCA, and provide an example of its application.

                Author and article information

                Front Psychiatry
                Front Psychiatry
                Front. Psychiatry
                Frontiers in Psychiatry
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                19 October 2022
                : 13
                : 989813
                [1] 1Centre for Child and Family Justice Research, Law School, Lancaster University , Lancaster, United Kingdom
                [2] 2School of Justice, University of Central Lancashire , Preston, United Kingdom
                Author notes

                Edited by: Lucy Webb, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom

                Reviewed by: Sarah Galvani, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom; Sarah Fox, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom

                *Correspondence: Judith Harwin j.e.harwin@ 123456lancaster.ac.uk

                This article was submitted to Addictive Disorders, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry

                †These authors have contributed equally to this work

                Copyright © 2022 Harwin and Barlow.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 08 July 2022
                : 30 August 2022
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 132, Pages: 17, Words: 14992

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                domestic abuse and violence,child protection,care proceedings,substance misuse,family drug and alcohol courts,family justice,criminal justice,family policy and law


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