Supporting children through key adults
Operation Encompass is a national Police Force and Education early intervention safeguarding partnership that supports children and young people exposed to domestic violence. The support from the Police is in the form of a phone call to the school the child or children attend giving information about an incident of domestic abuse.
More information can be found at the website http://www.operationencompass.org/
When the Police are called to an incident they will ascertain whether or not there has been domestic abuse and if there are children in the property.
If there are children in the property the Police Officer will collect information to report to Operation Encompass. The report is communicated to the school by a trained Operation Encompass operator between 7am and 9am in the morning. This is to allow the school the opportunity to prepare to support the child during the day. The call is taken at school by a trained and designated safeguarding lead who will take action.
The school will take action to ensure that the teacher and key adults have as much information as necessary but as little information as possible to ensure that the child is supported in a manner that is ‘overt or silent. In other words, we know there has been an incident and we support the child with our presence and care but do not instigate conversations or interventions. We are there for the child. Our normal safeguarding procedures are used after the phone call is received.
Why a call? The safety and well-being of your child is very important. Research has shown that...
The national average is that a child will have experienced 35 incidents of domestic abuse before the Police are called.
“Children are neither untouched by violence or passive bystanders.” Buckley et al 2007
Witnessing DA creates the same state in the human brain as combat soldiers presenting with PTSD.
Children who have Adverse Childhood Experiences are (Dr Kat Ford - Public Health Wales):
- 23% more likely to verbally abuse others
- 17% more likely to physically abuse someone when they get older
- 10% more likely to sexually abuse someone when they get older
Children growing up in a household that exposes them to 4 or more ACE situations means that they are
- 20% more likely to experience parental separation
- 16% more likely to experience domestic violence
- 14% more likely to experience mental illness
- 14% more likely to experience drug abuse
- 5% more likely to abuse drugs
- 5% more likely to be sent to prison
What will we do with this information?
The School - depending on the situation - will...
- Meet your child with a smile
- Consider how we interact with our tone of voice and body language
- For a child who is dysregulated we will make efforts to settle them into a regulated state
- We will be flexible in our expectations
- We will identify times of the day which may be difficult for dysregulated children and support
- Give 1:1 time
- Make sure the child is doing an appropriate activity
- We will not ask what is wrong. We will wonder about what can help
- We will follow our safeguarding procedures
The information from Operation Encompass will be passed on to a Level 3 trained Safeguarding Officer. At Combe Martin the Safeguarding Officers are:
D Seddon, Designated Safeguarding Lead
L Swift, Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead
Further support can come from our Trust colleagues. They will be available to receive information and pass it on to the school if for some reason the DSL & DDSL are not available.
Rachael Sharpe - Trust Safeguarding Lead
What happens next?
As with all information we get about children, we have a duty of care to ensure our children thrive. We will start a conversation with you. Not to judge but to support. We will offer support through our Early Help network. We want your child to be safe and we will support you to do this. We will interact with other agencies involved but we will work with you and explain everything we are doing to help your child.
What should I do?
Come into school and tell us that you have experienced an incident that has been reported as Operation Encompass - some people say, “We’ve had an encompass”. The staff will know what you mean and we will help support your child more effectively. Having a conversation with us is by far the best option to take.
What will we not do
We will not give information about you to anyone who doesn’t need it. The Designated Safeguarding Officer will give as much information as necessary and as little information as possible to protect your privacy.
We will not question your child directly. We will act towards them like we don’t know but if they disclose we will follow our school procedures.
Understanding Domestic Violence
It is our responsibility to understand the forms of DA and act accordingly. The Children’s DA Wheel is a good starting point to identify the various manifestations of DA.