23/03/2016

One year old child among over 1,000 youngsters supported by domestic abuse initiative

An innovative scheme which supports children affected by domestic abuse has helped over 1,000 children in under a year.

1

Operation Encompass means Cleveland Police informs nurseries, schools, academies and colleges that a child has been involved – directly or indirectly -in a domestic abuse incident in the previous 24 hours.

Educational Psychologists and specialist police officers have provided training to designated key adults so they can intervene early and offer appropriate support to the youngster.

Police and professionals working with young children agree that youngsters’ behaviour and attitude can be affected in a number of ways if they have seen, witnessed or been directly involved in domestic abuse.

Operation Encompass is the brainchild of former police Sergeant David Carney Howarth and his wife, head teacher Elisabeth from Plymouth and they have been instrumental in helping Cleveland’s Encompass team get the scheme up and running across the whole force area.

Cleveland Police and partners’ work has already attracted interest from UK forces and even European counterparts - with the initiative due to go-live in the Netherlands in the near future.

Launched as a pilot scheme in Hartlepool last March, the team which is led by former Cleveland Police officer Shane Sellers, had supported 1,177 youngsters by the end of February 2016.  The youngest was just one year old.

PCC Barry Coppinger who funded the Encompass team said: “Operation Encompass means children and young people in our communities are supported almost immediately if they witness or are involved in domestic abuse.  It is testament to Shane and his team that the initiative has been rolled out across the entire force area so seamlessly and efficiently. I’m also very proud that our Encompass team’s work has been noted by other UK forces and even by foreign authorities.”


Temporary Chief Constable Iain Spittal added: “Operation Encompass forms an integral part of the wider safeguarding work which police and partners carry out.

“We are grateful for the enthusiastic support and input they have provided as the initiative has been rolled out and we are glad they share our commitment to protecting vulnerable youngsters.”

Photo from left-right: Carl Everett, Sarah Smith, Barry Coppinger, Helen Eustace, Shane Sellers