Children and young people who witness or endure incidents of domestic abuse can be left frightened, confused and conflicted - they might directly witness the abuse, hear the abuse from another room, see injuries or distress in a loved one, or be physically hurt trying to stop the abuse. All of these scenarios can be incredibly distressing for a child.
Following such an incident, children will often arrive at school upset and unprepared.
Where previously a school may not have been made aware of police attending a domestic abuse incident at the home, Operation Encompass will see that appropriately trained ‘Safeguarding’ staff have this information so they can offer support and understanding to the child in the best possible way.
Assistant Chief Constable Kerrin Wilson said: “Domestic abuse has a ripple effect. Children within the household will suffer, sometimes to a devastating extent. Operation Encompass is a fantastic nationally recommended scheme, which we are pleased to launch with primary and secondary schools in Lincolnshire. It is another safeguarding route that we will use to ensure children are supported and we recognise that schools play a pivotal role in their student’s ongoing wellbeing and safety.”
After officers receive a report of abuse from a home where children were present or usually live, brief information will be shared with the school directly from Lincolnshire Police. This information will be handled by the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead. This ensures support can be provided as quickly as possible so the child involved can feel safe and listened to.
Each Designated Safeguarding Lead has been fully trained and the force explains that these leaders are able to ensure the right support is made available to the child following a domestic abuse incident has been reported.
By knowing that the child has had this experience, the school is said to be in a better position to be supportive and understanding of the child’s needs and possible behaviours.
More advice on Operation Encompass here.