Operation Encompass – key information for schools

1. Introduction

Operation Encompass provides Schools with critical information, through a notification for a child/young person in their school who have witnessed/experienced a domestic abuse incident in their family. We recognise that school for many children and young people provides a safe-base and that schools are working with a child and their family at a critical time, immediately after a domestic abuse episode.

Under Our Way of Working and the Community Safety Partnership we want to support all schools with key information to work with children, young people, and their families, after a domestic abuse episode in taking a trauma informed approach and using motivational interviewing to respond to notifications from Operation Encompass.

This key information has been collated and explored with schools across Cheshire West and Chester who have received the most frequent numbers of notifications (from September 2020 to March 2021) and have collectively shared their learning and good practice to support all schools in responding to Operation Encompass.

Within this resource:

  • Key information for schools
  • Practice example
  • Information, advice and guidance
  • Further concerns?

2. Key information for schools

Please consider the following steps in responding to the notification as the named lead:

2.1 School

  • Notification received by Headteacher.
  • Enter on CPOMS/Safeguarding file/Operation Encompass file.
  • Ensure there is time allowed to process and reflect on the information, within the competing needs of School before agreeing next steps.
  • Consider your tailored response, (age of the child, immediate welfare, current class they are in, any brother/sister within the school, or another school).
  • Welfare Check for child/young person.
  • Think Family- phone call to parent/carer ensuing where possible to speak to the person who has been harmed and the person who has harmed. (using motivational interviewing skills and drawing on trauma informed language, see training and resources section for further information).
  • Complete DASHRIC with parent/carer.
  • Completion of MARAC documentation (if requested by Education Welfare Service).
  • Safeguarding meetings (internal to school – liaise with partners if open on TAF, Child in Need, Child Protection).
  • Ensure key staff are aware to avoid re-traumatisation and are able to respond to any triggers of trauma (e.g Pastoral Manager, Form/Class teacher, noting it is not necessary to share all detail).
  • If child does not live in Cheshire West, notification to relevant local authority where there is an identified safeguarding need.
  • Contact Safeguarding Children in Education Team if needed for signposting/further information advise.

2.2 Talking to the child/young person regarding the incident

  • Be sensitive to how they may react / feel – may not have had enough sleep.
  • Support without judgement, (using trauma informed language, consider how motivational Interviewing approach can provide assurances and further understanding e.g, open-ended questions, reflective listening, affirmations).
  • Wishes and feelings, tailored to child and their developmental age, (using motivational interviewing approach, see resources for further suggestions).
  • Trusting professional wisdom (intuitive feelings), explore this further with Designated Safeguarding Lead/ liaise with Safeguarding Children in Education Team.
  • Check in and follow up with the family after the incident and over coming weeks.
  • See Section 4 for further information and resources.

2.3 Support and Intervention for the child/young person

  • Consider if additional support or intervention: When this would be appropriate Considering age, developmental needs and timeliness.
  • ELSA, Counselling to be considered.
  • Tools: SDQ, resilience and vulnerability matrix. (see resources)
  • Use Motivational Interviewing for discussions with parents, consider if further support is needed and Think Family.
  • Professional Friend to build a relationship and trust with child/young person and their family to  support and strengthening safe-base for child and family.

3.Practice Example

4. Information, Advice and Guidance

5. Further concerns?

This information was supported and developed by:

Schools: Blacon High School, Helsby High School, Upton by Chester High School, Whitby High School, The Acorns and Whitley Village Federated Schools , and North West Academies Trust, Oakview Primary School, Over Hall Community School, The Oakes Primary School, St Werburgh’s & St Columba’s Catholic Primary School and Witton Church Walk C of E Nursery and Primary School .

Multi Agency Partners: Safeguarding Children in Education Team, Domestic Abuse Intervention and Prevention Service, Cheshire Police, Our Way of Working.