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School leaders call for more support for families experiencing domestic abuse

School leaders gathered in Liverpool for NAHT’s annual conference will today debate a motion calling to support the innovative work of Operation Encompass.

Operation Encompass is a new approach to information sharing between police and schools to support families experiencing domestic abuse.

The scheme has recently been piloted in Crawley in West Sussex, with all 37 schools in the area signing up.

Proposing the motion, Julie Simpson, Executive head teacher of St Barnabas Multi Academy Trust in Cornwall, said: “We really want Operation Encompass to go on to the next level now. It is such a simple concept but it is so effective. It just requires one phone call from the police to a nominated Key Adult in a school, prior to 9am on the morning after a domestic incident has happened in the child’s home. Having that knowledge allows us to put support in place for the child immediately.”

Elisabeth Carney-Haworth, Co-Creator & Founder of Operation Encompass said: “Operation Encompass is one of the best things that has happened in terms of safeguarding in schools for a long time. And there have been unforeseen positive spinoffs; as a direct result of Operation Encompass, domestic abuse is no longer a closed subject in my school. Parents who have been involved in a domestic incident the previous evening will come in to see me, telling me that they have had an “Encompass” even when the police have not been involved. This all means that we are able to support our families even more and this has a very positive impact for the children.”

The Crawley pilot took place over 6 weeks starting on the 6th November 2017. Notifications were sent via email by officers who attended domestic abuse incidents in the Crawley area; a survey accompanied every notification to support the evaluation process. 35 out 37 schools signed up, and a further two signed up in the last week of the pilot. In 80 per cent of cases, the school had not previously received communication about the child. 63 per cent of schools were satisfied that the information they received was sufficient to support the child. 37 per cent would like to receive more. All schools remain within the scheme.


Note to editors

·         The Key Adult must be level three Child Protection Trained, be the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Deputy DSL, and have attended a Key Adult briefing. Further information on the responsibilities of a Key Adult can be found here

o   The Key Adult can identify a person (DSL/DDSL) who can deputise in their absence.

·         The Governing Body must be aware of a schools participation in the scheme and should have a good working knowledge of the Operation.

·         The information being shared should be treated in the same way as other safeguarding information.

·         Schools should inform all parents about their involvement with the Operation. There are a number of templates that can be used by schools on the website here

o   Details about the schools involvement with the Operation should be shared with in the school prospectus, so that future parents are aware.

o   Schools may also wish to signpost to Operation Encompass on their websites.

·         Although this is a national operation not all forces are currently signed up to this – a list of forces currently involved can be found here.

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730

Rose Tremlett 
Senior Press Officer 
07545 354363

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