Launch of Operation Encompass
- Operation Encompass is an initiative which will enhance communication between the police and schools where a child is at risk from domestic abuse.
- The purpose of the information sharing is to ensure schools have more information to support safeguarding of children. By knowing that the child has had this experience, the school is in a better position to understand and be supportive of the child's needs and possible behaviours.
- Operation Encompass will complement existing safeguarding procedures
Q. What is Operation Encompass?
A. This is a process used to inform schools when the police have attended an incident of domestic violence or abuse, where domestic abuse incidents have occurred in the homes of their pupils since the previous school day.
Q. How will it work?
A. Police will share information with First Response who will phone the school between 8 and 8.30am and ask to speak with the Head teacher or a Designated Safeguarding Lead. The school will be informed simply that there was an incident and the name of the child. The First Response Officer making the phone call will not be in a position to give more information at that point.
Q. What is the school meant to do with this knowledge?
A. By knowing that the child has had this experience, the school is in a better position to be supportive and understanding of the child's needs and possible behaviours. The Head teacher or DSL will share this information on a need to know basis e.g. the form teacher.
The initial approach is that the sharing of information should not, in itself, provoke a proactive response to individual children by the school, but informs the schools' response to any presenting behaviour. Some schools will have the staff and resources to reassure the child that they know. This can be a real relief to a child as it can give them a tacit permission to talk about how they feel and what has been happening to them. The key aim of this process, however, is to ensure that the child is offered sensitivity and understanding following a distressing incident.
Q. What if the Head/DSL misses the call?
A. A number will be left for the Head/DSL to call back the First Response consultation line.
Q. How frequently will schools receive this type of call?
A. Research indicates that around 2-5 calls will be made across the County each morning. There may well be a long period between calls; however larger schools may receive calls more frequently.
Q. Will parents be aware of this new process?
A. Schools will need to let all parents know, via newsletter or other appropriate means, that when Police attend an incident of domestic violence/abuse, the school will be informed first thing the next morning. By sharing this information the parents affected by domestic abuse will know that they can approach the school. There will also be broader publicity in relation to the scheme.
Q. When will this start?
A. This new process will start at the beginning of the Autumn Term. Schools are asked to alert those who may pick up the phone between 8.00 and 8.30 about this scheme and that if possible a DSL or Head Teacher is available to take the call.
Q. What is the review/evaluation process?
A. The scheme will be evaluated and reviewed as it evolves. In other areas it has been found to be a very effective way of supporting children at a most difficult time.
Q. Where can I find out more about the background to Operation Encompass?