The Trilogy of Risk (Toxic Trio)

Course Outline

This course will focus on the impact of the Trilogy of Risk (also known as the Toxic Trio), of domestic abuse, parental substance misuse, and parental mental health on children and multi-agency responses to working with families where this is a feature. In an analysis of 139 serious case reviews, between 2009-2011 (Brandon et al 2012), investigations showed that in over three quarters incidents (86%) where children were seriously harmed or died one or more of a “toxic trio” mental illness, substance misuse and domestic abuse played a significant part.

Who is the course aimed at?

All staff involved in providing services for children and their families where the ‘Trilogy of Risk’ is present and impact on parenting capacity and children’s development

How long is the course?

1 day (Please note each topic within the ‘Trilogy of Risk’ can be delivered as separate, 1 day courses if required

What will you learn?
  • Identify how the risk factors of parental mental illness, substance misuse and domestic abuse co-exist within families and the implications thereof for safeguarding children
  • Understand how the cumulative issues impact on children and young people, in relation to immediate risk, their day to day lives and long term implications.
  • Describe the impact of parental substance misuse, mental ill health and domestic violence on parenting capacity
  • Explore learning from Serious Case Review findings and current research to inform evidence based practice.
  • Be familiar with local procedures and national guidance relating to domestic abuse, parental substance misuse and parental mental illness
  • Understand the need for joint assessments, and how effective joint working can reduce harm
  • Know how to adopt a child focussed approach
  • Understand the cycle of change, both as it relates to substance misuse, mental health, domestic violence and parenting
  • Have an opportunity to reflect on their practice
  • To understand what works well in responding to the ‘Trilogy of Risk’.

“Very well presented; pitched at the right level” – Family Worker, Berkshire

To download a copy of the course outline click here


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