MORE than 3,000 cases of domestic abuse have been reported since the setting up of a new initiative a year ago in Worcestershire.

It has reported that 3,000 domestic abuse notifications have been referred to schools since the launch of Operation Encompass 12 months ago.

Operation Encompass, operating in partnership with West Mercia Police, Worcestershire Children First and schools first started in November 2018 and aims to support children and young people exposed to domestic abuse.

It is a process whereby the police and children’s services inform the school if a child or young person has experienced any domestic incident prior to the start of the next school day. This information sharing allows school staff to provide emotional and practical support to their pupils experiencing domestic abuse.

Operation Encompass ensures that a member of the school staff, usually the Designated Safeguarding Lead, is given special training to enable them to work with the police and children’s services in receiving and using the information that has been shared in confidence.

“We want to offer the best support possible to children and young people experiencing domestic abuse at home,” said Sarah Wilkins, Director of Education and Early Help at Worcestershire Children’s First.

“Acting upon the information received schools can take the child’s circumstances into account when interacting with them.

“It could be small things such as providing them breakfast, allow for quiet time, not punish a child for not having done their homework or being late but instead provide them with space and allowances given what they have experienced.”

DS Sharon Wallace, of West Mercia Police, said that the initiative has worked well and helped to provide a safety network and enabled schools to know if there were circumstances that they needed to be aware of at the home of a vulnerable child who may need special support.