A new police and council safeguarding initiative called Operation Encompass is giving immediate support for children and young people affected by domestic abuse.
The new scheme is now in place in all primary and secondary schools in the borough of Rochdale. It means that after attending domestic incidents, police officers provide information to the school's designated safeguarding officer before the start of the next school day. This allows the school to put in place appropriate support, dependent upon the needs and wishes of the child.
This timely early information sharing enables appropriate support to be made for that child so that all interactions, from when the child first arrives at the school gates, are of a positive nature.
'As a child, hearing, seeing or knowing about a domestic incident is harrowing'
Gail Hopper, our Director of Children's Services, welcomed the adoption of the scheme and the support of schools across the borough. She said: "Research shows that children are negatively affected when domestic abuse takes place in their family and we're committed to helping them at the earliest point. Operation Encompass will help us to do this. As a child, hearing, seeing or knowing about a domestic incident is harrowing enough and children will carry the impact on them into school. Being able to continue with school as normal the day after is a real challenge. With this new scheme, schools will understand what children may have experienced and can effectively support those children, without judgement."
Children who experience domestic abuse are negatively impacted by such exposure and it can lead to emotional, physical and psychological harm. Operation Encompass believes that children are victims of domestic abuse in their own right and so it aims to mitigate this harm by enabling immediate support, making a child's day better support them moving forward.
'This initiative will ensure Rochdale children receive the tailored support they deserve following exposure to or involvement in such an incident'
Kirsten Buggy, Strategic Inspector from Greater Manchester Police, said: "This initiative will ensure Rochdale children receive the tailored support they deserve following exposure to or involvement in such an incident. The rapid provision of support within the school environment means children are better safeguarded against the short, medium and long term effects of domestic abuse."