An important part of our work involves supporting young people who have experienced domestic abuse. The experience of abuse and how it affects behaviour is different for every child – but some common behavioural changes can include: anxiety, depression, aggressive behaviour, withdrawal, self-harm and substance abuse. Schools are an environment where young people should feel safe and key adults need to be trained in lessening the impact of domestic abuse on young people. Here are two initiatives that aim to do just that.
Relationship Education Classes
The government’s new Domestic Abuse Bill outlines plans to introduce relationship education classes, which will help teenagers to understand the difference between a healthy relationship and an abusive one. By increasing knowledge and awareness of abusive behaviours, relationship classes could encourage earlier intervention. The government hopes these classes will create a culture where people feel a lot more confident in discussing domestic abuse and accessing support.
In 2012, a police sergeant and his wife, a headteacher of a primary school in Plymouth, developed Operation Encompass – a system providing early notification to Key Adults within the schools when a pupil has been affected by domestic abuse in the last 24 hours. With this information, schools should be able to ensure that support is available to affected children. A pilot scheme in Great Yarmouth was successful and the scheme has since been launched in the rest of Norfolk. As of March this year, 33 police forces across the country have information-sharing agreements in place.
Our Children and Young People’s Outreach workers provide a range of services to any young person aged between 5 and 19. A request for support can be made by the young person or on their behalf by calling 0300 561 0077.
We run regular training packages that can be tailored specifically for individuals and organisations that work with children and young people. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Operation Encompass, please visit www.operationencompass.org.
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