Domestic Violence in UK: Part Police and Schools Play

William Kellogg
June 10, 2019
child abuse

Police have been able to notify schools about issues of domestic abuse where children have been present 1,552 times in three months.

The police in the province of Gwent have started telling schools of pupils been affected by abuse in the home in the past 24 hours.

They have responded to 1,119 reports in three months from March to June.

A particular case, a school, was informed about a child who was home while witnessing nine separate incidents of domestic violence.

This operation tagged “Operation Encompass”  was set up to help pupils at risk of being affected by adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

This is part of a comprehensive program to support youngsters experiencing traumatic events such as violence, drug taking, and sexual abuse.

The scheme is actively operating in a  part of the Dyfed-Powys force area. The police force in that area and the North Wales Police say they intend to carry out Operation Encompass right across their force areas.

In a particular case,  Erin, a mum of two from Porthcawl, her stepfather always abused her mother throughout her childhood, he also verbally abused Erin.

She says having someone to share her ordeal with at school could have helped her.

“Nobody knew, I’d go to school, the tutors didn’t have any idea of what I was going through,” she said.

“I was full of anxiety and always kept to myself, and I do feel tired in class because I’d been up late listening to the beatings going on downstairs.

“ Up till this very moment, 25 years later, I still get very anxious and angry when I hear noises, I had to calm myself down most of the time.

“I could still remember hearing his fist slamming on the table, which usually means something is going to happen.

“When i found out about the number of children [1,552], I felt outraged.

“Why must this be happening? Why do children have to go through these terrible things in their own homes?”

The head teacher at Ebbw Fawr Learning Community in Ebbw Vale, Huw Lloyd, said the idea of giving schools like his such information would help teachers and school staffs to support the children.

“The mode of operation is that we get the phone calls in the morning, from a particular person in the police who contacts a specific person within the school if the police have been called to a situation of domestic abuse and the child is a student of our school,” he said.

“From the  phone call, we can give the necessary support to the child in the school.”

Mr. Lloyd, A teacher at the school for more than 30years, added: “In the previous system, the information would get to us two or three weeks late.”

“These children are victims of domestic abuse too, either directly or indirectly, and the damage would have been done by the time we get to know about it.”

This student can be offered a serene and quiet space, breakfast and a talk session with a member of school staff, or specially trained counselors and social workers about what happened at home the previous evening.

Supt Paul Staniforth is the ACEs program lead for Gwent Police; he said: “I think that this program will change lives.

“We all know how important it is to put appropriate intervention measures in place to help support vulnerable children, vulnerable families, to ensure  that this cycle of violence is stopped.”

William Kellogg

William Kellogg is a veteran writer who's covered the subject of the intersection of technology, health and mental wellness for nearly two decades.

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