This protocol sets out a joint-agency approach to provide, by early intervention, appropriate support for children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse in their household. It draws on the principles of Operation Encompass which is established in a number of areas nationally.
The Protocol (here in referred to as the DVA Notification Process) is a result of a key recommendation in the Leeds Domestic Violence and Abuse Scrutiny Report 2012. In addition, there are clear links with the extension of the Families First Programme with domestic violence as criteria for identification, the Family Valued programme and the workforce development progress made in clusters with the domestic violence quality mark.
This Protocol is aimed at staff within the Police, Childrens Social Work Services (Front Door Safeguarding Hub) and Educational Settings including schools and Higher Education (reference throughout document will refer to educational settings)
Definition of domestic abuse
The Government defines domestic violence and abuse as “Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:
- Controlling behaviour: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour
- Coercive behaviour: an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.”
This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so-called `honour` based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.
Domestic abuse is a safeguarding children issue; statistics show that in 90% of cases children are present in a household during a domestic abuse incident. Often the following day children are ill-prepared to deal with the school day.
As part of the development of a Domestic Abuse Strategy under the Domestic Abuse Local Partnership Board (D.A.L.P.B) the board will ensure that there continues to be commitment from all key partners towards the delivery of a School Notification process within Leeds.
The DVA Notification Process relates to all incidents of domestic violence and abuse whereby there is a child of statutory education age (4-17years) who is witness to, or present at, an incident of domestic violence or abuse. Educational Settings which have pupils who are post 18 years should also be mindful of the effects of witnessing or being present during incidents of domestic violence and abuse and provide support and appropriate accommodations to their learning.