Scheme launched to protect children

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Merseyside Police © Twitter

Merseyside Police © Twitter

A new police scheme to ensure child victims of domestic abuse are better cared for is being introduced across Merseyside.

Operation Encompass will see Merseyside Police inform schools the next day if one of their pupils has experienced domestic violence in their home.

After a six-month trial in Knowsley, schools in Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral and St Helens have also pledged to sign up to the agreement, which comes into effect today.

Between December 2012 and June 2013 there were 375 children present in the family home at the time of a domestic incident. Around 70% of the affected children were of primary school age.

The trial concluded that Operation Encompass had enabled many more children to be identified as living with domestic abuse than had previously been known to the authorities.

Detective Superintendent Tim Keelan from Merseyside Police’s Public Protection said: “The silent victims in all of this are children. The children of the parents who argue violently in the family home or who see their mum or dad hurt the following day carry that experience into school, yet no one else may know and they continue to suffer in silence.

“Our pledge is to ensure that every frontline police officer in Merseyside who attends a domestic incident knows how to make our specialist family crime unit officers aware of what has gone.”

A spokesperson for Knowsley Domestic Violence Support Service told JMU Journalism: “It is an issue that there is not much support outside of schools for children suffering from domestic abuse.

“This scheme has been really useful so far to allow children to get additional support in domestic violence cases.

“The child can speak to a teacher about an issue at home, or there can be silent support in which the child would not know the teacher is informed but support will be provided.”

About Lydia Morris, JMU Journalism