Scheme to help pupils affected by domestic abuse

The Home Office has awarded charity Operation Encompass £163,000 for its initiative to support children who attend school following a domestic abuse incident.

Operation Encompass is a system which ensures the police contact a school before the next school day when one of their pupils has been exposed to domestic abuse.

This allows a school’s safeguarding team to make sure the appropriate support is in place to give the pupil the assistance they need.

The scheme is the brainchild of headteacher Elisabeth Carney-Haworth and husband David, a former police officer.

Elisabeth, the headteacher of Torpoint Nursery and Infant School in Cornwall said: "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.

"This is happening in our schools every day and the current procedures in many police forces do not allow for the reporting to schools of domestic abuse incidents in a timely fashion.

"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 scheme currently operates in some form in 33 forces in England and Wales.

The funding will support the rollout of the initiative to all forces and allow Operation Encompass to carry out an audit of existing systems and the effectiveness of the supportive interventions in place for children.

Statistics have found that as many as 1 in 5 children in the UK are witness to or exposed to domestic abuse and those affected by this horrible crime are 4 times more likely to go on and experience or perpetrate domestic abuse later in life.

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