Barnsley schools and college committed to understanding children affected by domestic violence

Schools across Barnsley, including Barnsley College, have shown their commitment to their students by signing up to Operation Encompass, a national initiative that ensures schools are made aware when a child is at risk from domestic abuse.

All schools across Barnsley and Barnsley College have worked alongside officers and now have processes in place that create a better school day for those children affected by domestic violence. 

Operation Encompass is a process used to inform schools of domestic abuse incidents that the police have been called to since the previous school day, where children have been present or affected by it. The purpose of information sharing is to make sure schools have more information to support children’s safeguarding. Knowing that the child has had this experience, the school is better positioned to understand and support the child's needs and possible behaviours. 

South Yorkshire Police, Barnsley Council and schools have been working behind the scenes, since the report was approved at Barnsley Council’s cabinet, training teachers and safeguarding leads to ensure that processes were in place and working to launch the scheme last week (Monday 12 April). One hundred per cent of schools in Barnsley, including Barnsley College, have signed up to Operation Encompass.

How will it work?  
Police will share information with the Council’s integrated front door screening team, providing a list of children each morning who may have been affected by a domestic abuse incident the previous day. Staff will then identify the school the child attends and e-mail the school before 9am. They’ll inform the Head Teacher or a Designated Safeguarding Lead that a child at their school may have been affected by a domestic abuse incident.  

The school will be informed that there was an incident and the child’s name, date of birth and address.  

The staff in contact with those pupils will then be in an informed position to support them in a way that is appropriate for that child or young person, either with silent or overt support. The sharing of information should not provoke a proactive response to individual children by the school or professional, but informs their response to any presenting behaviour, and ensures that the child is offered sensitivity and understanding following a distressing incident.  

Suzanne Jackson, Domestic Abuse Risk Assessor Manager at South Yorkshire Police, said: “It must be acknowledged the effect that being exposed to domestic violence can have on children and young people. 

“We already know that schools work hard to ensure that safeguarding takes place, but by working collectively together, we can ensure that children are supported and their behaviour and actions are understood. 

“I am pleased that all schools across Barnsley have signed up to the initiative; it reflects the commitment to building better lives across the borough.”  

Mel John-Ross, Executive Director for Children’s Services at Barnsley Council, said: “It’s fantastic that all schools in Barnsley and Barnsley College have signed up to Operation Encompass, and it’s a real opportunity for us to build on the existing, strong safeguarding practices here in Barnsley. Safeguarding is everyone’s business, and this shows a real commitment from everyone involved to further safeguard and protect our children and young people.”

For support on domestic abuse in Barnsley, call the Independent Domestic Abuse Service (IDAS) on 03000 110 110 or 24hr national helpline: 0808 2000 247, or visit the IDAS website for further help and support.   

If you’re worried about the welfare of a child or young person, please visit our webpage about safeguarding children in Barnsley

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