School support for pupils affected by domestic abuse goes national

A scheme that links police with schools to offer early help to children exposed to domestic abuse is to be rolled out across England and Wales. Children and Young People Now reports.

The Operation Encompass scheme ensures that police contact a school before the start of the next school day when one of their pupils has been exposed to domestic abuse.

The school’s safeguarding team are then able to put in place swift support for the pupils. The scheme is already in operation in 33 police forces and the Home Office has awarded £163,000 to the charity Operation Encompass, which runs the scheme, to ensure it is introduced across all 43 police force areas in England and Wales.

“Imagine arriving at school after hearing or witnessing domestic abuse – you have not slept, had no breakfast, don’t have all your school uniform and your home is in disarray. Now you are expected to sit in your classroom and learn,” said Elisabeth Carney-Haworth, a head teacher who set up the scheme with her husband David, who is a former police officer.

“This funding from the Home Office will assist in ensuring that Operation Encompass is embraced fully by all police forces and that the partnership between the police and schools will enable them to work towards providing trauma-informed support.”

The expansion of Operation Encompass has been welcomed by Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT).

“It has proved to be very successful in the schools it has been trialled in, and this funding will help the scheme to be rolled out more widely.”

According to the Home Office around one in five children in the UK have witnessed or been exposed to domestic abuse. This group of children are four times more likely to go on to experience or perpetrate domestic abuse later in life.

Read more School support for pupils affected by domestic abuse goes national

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