New guidance on domestic violence and information sharing from the Department of Health


The Department of Health have published a new piece of best practice guidance, which they hope will assist those who need to share information about individuals involved in domestic violence, for example at a MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference) – a local, multi agency victim-focused meeting where information is shared on the highest risk cases of domestic abuse between different agencies.

This is a short (12 page) guideline that has been produced jointly with the UK Council of Caldicott Guardians. It sets out the underlying ethical considerations between confidentiality and information sharing and identifies the role of the Caldicott Guardian to ‘strike the balance’ between maintaining the individuals’ confidentiality and privacy and wider considerations such as protection from harm.

Mental health professionals interested in confidentiality and information sharing should also take a look at the Rethink Carers and Confidentiality website, which aims to help professionals gain a thorough understanding of why working with family/friend carers is beneficial for improving outcomes in mental health.


“Striking the Balance” Practical Guidance on the application of Caldicott Guardian Principles to Domestic Violence and MARACs (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences) (PDF). Department of Health, 16 April 2012.

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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