News from our partners: New scheme to support children who have witnessed domestic abuse
News from our partners West Mercia Police
Operation Encompass is an initiative which will involve West Mercia Police working even more closely with schools and Shropshire Council to ensure the welfare of children who may have witnessed domestic abuse incidents.
The initiative sees police and the council informing a specially-trained member of staff at the school of a child or young person who has experienced a domestic incident.
The scheme allows school staff to provide emotional and practical support to pupils who are experiencing domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse can broadly be defined as ‘any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who have been intimate partners or family members’. This can include, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse – psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional.
Through Operation Encompass, a member of school staff – usually the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) – is given special training to enable them to receive information and liaise with police and Shropshire Council. The information is shared by police, via the council, in confidence.
Shropshire Safer Communities Chief Inspector Sarah Corteen said:
“We want to offer the best support possible to children in Shropshire and this will be beneficial in helping us and other agencies work together to achieve that goal.
“This scheme has already proved to be a success in other areas and we’re pleased to be launching it here in Shropshire. Teachers being made aware of that a child has witnessed a domestic abuse incident means that they can make sure the child is supported appropriately.”
Karen Bradshaw, Shropshire Council’s director of children’s services, said:
“We are delighted to support this initiative through the appointment of a dedicated domestic abuse education co-ordinator, who will ensure that education settings are informed of incidents before the start of each school day. This means school staff will be able to provide emotional and practical support to pupils and will further enhance the work Shropshire Council undertakes with partner agencies, to recognise and address the impact that domestic abuse has on children and young people.”