Teachers could be key to tackling domestic abuse

From left, Detective Inspector Lesley Wheatley of Northumbria Police, Coun Joan Atkinson, Tony Gill, head teacher at Headworth Lane Primary School, Karen Davison from South Tyneside Council and Annlei Inkster, deputy head teacher Dunston Hill Community Primary School.
From left, Detective Inspector Lesley Wheatley of Northumbria Police, Coun Joan Atkinson, Tony Gill, head teacher at Headworth Lane Primary School, Karen Davison from South Tyneside Council and Annlei Inkster, deputy head teacher Dunston Hill Community Primary School.

A support service for young victims of domestic abuse is to be launched in South Tyneside in the new year.

Operation Encompass aims to support school pupils aged between four and 18 who have either been involved in, or who have witnessed, abuse in the home.

Children can also suffer the effects of domestic abuse, often in silence. Operation Encompass is about giving vulnerable young people in South Tyneside a voice.

Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird

The campaign is a joint venture between the South Tyneside Council, Northumbria Police and the borough’s schools and academies.

At each school, two members of staff, who have undergone specific training, will be appointed and take on the role of Key Adults.

Coun Joan Atkinson, the council’s lead member for children, young people and families, said: “At the moment young people who have witnessed or been involved in an incident of domestic abuse come to school obviously distressed, upset and unprepared for the day.

“By working more closely together, we will ensure that trained staff within all our schools and academies are made aware of incidents early on, so that they can provide the right support to our children and young people.”

Coun Tracey Dixon, chairwoman of the community safety partnership, said: “Similar schemes operated throughout the country have proved very popular.

“In an ideal world, no child would have to witness or be involved in domestic abuse.

“However, the world is not perfect, so providing timely and appropriate support to those young people who need it is vital.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said: “Children can also suffer the effects of domestic abuse, often in silence.

“Operation Encompass is about giving vulnerable young people in South Tyneside a voice.

“It offers early intervention and support when children need it most.”