Operation Encompass directly connects the police with schools to secure better outcomes for children who are subject or witness to police-attended incidents of domestic abuse. Rapid provision of support within the school environment means children are better safeguarded against the short-, medium- and long-term effects of domestic abuse.
Operation Encompass provides an efficient, confidential channel of communication between police forces and Key Adults within schools. This enables the immediate and discrete recognition of the child's situation by the Key Adult, ensuring a secure and sympathetic environment is provided and the broader effects of abuse are addressed.
Operation Encompass is a charitable organisation set up in 2011, which has since enabled effective interventions to many thousands of children who've experienced domestic abuse. Our volunteers, trustees, and patrons are working tirelessly to ensure that police and schools throughout the country are able to address victims of domestic abuse consistently and coherently.
Operation Encompass is a police and education early information sharing partnership enabling schools to offer immediate support for children and young people experiencing domestic abuse. Information is shared by the police with a school's trained Key Adult (DSL) prior to the start of the next school day after officers have attended a domestic abuse incident thus enabling appropriate support to be given, dependent upon the needs and wishes of the child.
Children experiencing domestic abuse are negatively impacted by this exposure; domestic abuse has been identified as an Adverse Childhood Experience and can lead to emotional, physical and psychological harm. Operation Encompass aims to mitigate this harm by enabling immediate support, making a child's day better and giving them a better tomorrow.
Operation Encompass believes that children are victims of domestic abuse in their own right and should be acknowledged as such.
Co-Creator Elisabeth Carney-Haworth
“Operation Encompass is simply one of the best things that has happened in Safeguarding in schools during my very long career in education. The information received from the police enables us to truly engage in early intervention which in turn helps us to support our children in the way we need to.
Such a simple idea but one with profound impact. And this has been recognised across the education, police and safeguarding sectors. The Inspectorate of schools (Ofsted) and the police (HMICFRS) have both supported our scheme and recently we have received a huge endorsement from the Home Office as they have funded aspects of our work to ensure Operation Encompass is in place across the whole of our country.”
Founder David Carney-Haworth
“Sadly domestic abuse is prevalent across all tiers of our society and in many cases there are children present in these situations. Research tells us that these children are negatively affected by experiencing that domestic abuse. That is why living in a household where there is domestic abuse is seen as an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). This scheme brings domestic abuse out into the open and enables schools to show that they will support, without judgment, families and children who are experiencing this abuse.”
Our ambition is to ensure that all incidents of domestic abuse are shared with schools, not just those where an offence can be identified. Our mission is for Operation Encompass to be adopted by every police force and every school, for the benefit of every child.
The principles of Operation Encompass are very simple and easy to adopt. Within every school a trained Key Adult is appointed – the Key Adult receives information about abusive incidents directly from the police. The Key Adult will be notified prior to the start of the next school day that the police have attended an incident of domestic abuse to which a child has been exposed. This timely knowledge enables a plan for appropriate support to be made for that child so that all interactions, from when the child first arrives at the school gates, are of a positive nature.
The Key Adult must be a trained Designated or Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead and should attend a mandatory police and education led Operation Encompass briefing. They are then able to cascade this training to their school Governors and all staff, creating an awareness throughout their school of Operation Encompass, how it mitigates the effects of domestic abuse, and its broader consequent benefits. They can also communicate the school's Operation Encompass participation to the broader school community and stakeholders, for example by placing information on the school's website, in its prospectus, and by sending the joint police/school letter to parents.
Operation Encompass is an integral component in child safeguarding and protection policies and, as such, should be cited in the school's Safeguarding and Child Protection policies. Participation in Operation Encompass mandates a secure record-keeping trail, which may be electronic or paper based. Within Operation Encompass all records are managed at Child Protection level with the highest level of security and confidentiality, and in full accordance with GDPR.
Operation Encompass provides a set of of simple and effective procedures which together enable police forces to efficiently and effectively communicate with the schools attended by children who have been exposed to domestic abuse or other forms of adverse childhood experience. Early intervention and the provision of appropriate support in these events has a significant positive effect on affected children. It helps minimise the long-term effects and promotes positive outcomes for the child, the wider family and the community at large. Operation Encompass provides a proven and easily understood framework in which these incidents can be consistently and appropriately addressed and recorded.
Within each police force individual responsibilities are clearly defined:
The Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner make the initial commitment to the Operation Encompass scheme, for which a member of the Senior Management Team takes on strategic responsibility.
An officer of appropriate responsibility is appointed as police lead to oversee implementation of Operation Encompass by the force, and to direct associated policies. This officer ensures effective delivery of Operation Encompass as directed by the Home Office and identifies the most effective method of communicating with schools ahead of the school day.
The force briefs every school's Designated Safeguarding Leads - Operation Encompass provides the appropriate teaching materials. These briefings ensure that the highly confidential information the police supply to the DSL is treated with appropriate care and sensitivity, in situations which are frequently rapidly evolving.
The force maintains up-to-date contact details for all DSLs trained in Operation Encompass procedures.
All frontline officers within the force are fully trained in Operation Encompass - its purpose, when to apply it and how to apply it correctly.
The force provides a letter template to schools, used to inform parents of the school's participation in the scheme.
The force records the number of children supported and shares this data with the Operation Encompass charity.
The partnership between Operation Encompass and Devon and Cornwall Police has proven to be an essential element for the safeguarding of children and young people experiencing domestic abuse.
Children exposed to domestic abuse are amongst the most vulnerable in our society, often harmed physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
Having been exposed to domestic violence, a child goes to school the next day often requiring urgent emotional help and assurance but unable to express what they have witnessed and the support they need.
Operation Encompass is vital to ensuring the true partnership required to safeguard these children, ensuring that police and schools deliver the necessary support at the right time. This is in the hours immediately after exposure to the incident and that information must be available in schools at the right time in order to help children and young people overcome the traumatic events they have been exposed to.
If there is a true intention to help children exposed to domestic abuse then Operation Encompass is a proven approach to ensure the protection of our children.
Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer