Domestic abuse - notification to schools

We are currently receiving 780 notifications, on average, of Domestic abuse every month (26 a day). It’s likely that a many of these incidents will have children and young people in the homes who either experience or are involved in the incident. 

The purpose of this scheme is to enhance communication between the police and schools where a child is at risk from domestic abuse. The sharing of this information is to ensure schools are more aware of the child’s circumstances and therefore able to support safeguarding of children where necessary. By knowing that the child has had this experience the school is in a better position to understand and be supportive to the child’s needs and possible behaviours within the school setting. 

Please choose an option below to find out more about the scheme. 

​We have a domestic abuse notification scheme in Northamptonshire. This scheme is run by the Educational Inclusion and Partnership Team (EIPT) in partnership with the police.

The scheme involves early reporting to schools when a child or young person has been involved in a domestic abuse incident.

Upon receipt of a police notification, the Education Inclusion and Partnership Team, within Northamptonshire County Council, will contact the Headteacher and the Designated Safeguarding Lead within each respective school and share the notification about the child or young person who has experienced or been subject to domestic abuse.

Overview of the process

  1. ​Information from Police sent to School via MASH Education Safeguarding Team.
  2. Information received by Safeguarding Lead and Headteacher within the School and added to safeguarding records held about the child.
  3. Assess risk and develop working strategy by having discussion with Class Teacher, check of safeguarding records and decide what support should be offered to the child that day.
  4. Using this new information, along with other recognised concerns, assess level of need and risk – see Thresholds and Pathways. Consider if an Early Help Assessment (EHA) or a referral for an early help service (via an EHA), or if a referral to MASH, needs to be completed.
  5. Review actions taken.

​You will receive an email from the EIPT email account. The subject line will contain the words 'Domestic Abuse Notification'.

Due to the sensitive information contained within the email we will send it using our secure email system Egress. Read how to open an email received through Egress.

​The information shared does not duplicate or replace any safeguarding interventions that may occur following police involvement, but is to provide the schools with important information so they are able to better support the pupil.

The Designated Safeguarding lead should train school staff in the notification process and monitor the safe use of this information in the school.

Your designated safeguarding leads can then share this information with relevant staff and jointly assess what type of support (silent or overt) needs to be offered to the affected child or young person.

Schools should not visit or discuss this information with the family (unless the child or a family member separately discloses that domestic abuse is occurring).

Some examples of the support offered:

  • mentoring or someone to talk to
  • checking on well being
  • offering ‘quiet time’
  • discussion with school nurse
  • referrals to Social Care  
  • ‘keeping an eye’ on the individual
  • initiate an early help assessment
  • complex case meeting
  • referrals to tier 3 specialist support
  • discussion with social worker if social care already involved

Within the notification email there is a link to an online form, please complete the form to tell us you've received the notification and outline the support offered.

​Schools need to include information about this scheme on their website and include the information in their safeguarding policy, prospectus and new starter packs.

Informing parents

Schools should also send a letter to parents about the scheme. Below is an example letter that you can adapt for your school:

​Information Sharing - Legal requirements

Section 11(2) of the Children’s Act, 2004, requires Local Authorities and the police to safeguard and promote the welfare of the children. This enactment provides the conditions required under the Data Protection Act 2018 by which personal and sensitive personal data may be lawfully shared.

Personal data shared must be proportionate, necessary but not excessive, and must be balanced with the consideration of privacy rights under the Human Rights Act. It must take into account any duty of confidentiality owed. A public interest in disclosure must outweigh an individual's right to privacy.

It is recognised that the handling of confidential and sensitive information needs to be dealt with in a way that is proportionate and appropriate to the needs of the child or young person and family. To address this, staff receiving the information must have responsibility or oversight of safeguarding within the school. A notification must be stored securely in the school's child protection filing system, as per school safeguarding procedure.

​If you have a safeguarding or welfare concern about a child at your school, you should use Thresholds and Pathways to assess the level of help they require.

If you have not done so already, we recommend that you update your school safeguarding policy with a section on domestic abuse notifications.

Suggested wording for Whole School Safeguarding Policy:

'At [Insert Name of School] we are working in partnership with Northamptonshire County Council and Northamptonshire Police to identify and provide appropriate support to pupils who have experienced domestic abuse in their household; nationally this scheme is called Operation Encompass. In order to achieve this, Northamptonshire County Council will share police information with the Designated Safeguarding Lead(s) of all domestic incidents where one of our pupils has been affected. On receipt of any information, the Designated Safeguarding Lead will decide on the appropriate support the child requires, this could be silent or overt.

'All information sharing and resulting actions will be undertaken in accordance with the ‘NSCB Protocol for Domestic Abuse – Notifications to Schools’. We will record this information and store this information in accordance with the record keeping procedures outlined in this policy.'

  1. ​Operation Encompass is a joint scheme between Northamptonshire County Council, Northamptonshire Police and Schools. This scheme started in Northamptonshire January 2017.
  2. Operation Encompass was initiated nationally with the purpose to ‘ safeguard children and young people(4-16 years old) who are affected by domestic abuse by ensuring appropriate services are made aware of an incident at the earliest opportunity’.
  3. 1 in 5 children have been exposed to domestic abuse and it is present in 60% of all Serious Case Reviews. ‘the psychological impact of living with domestic abuse is no smaller than the impact of being physically abused’.
  4. Domestic violence and abuse -home office definition (2013) – 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: financial, sexual, physical emotional and psychological.
  5. In Northamptonshire the Council receives from the Police an average of 26 domestic abuse notifications a day. The child has been listed as present in an average of 75% of notifications.
  6. The schools safeguarding policy must make reference to the Operation Encompass duty, recognising that the school see this as a safeguarding duty. Schools should send a letter to parent to make them aware of this scheme.
  7. Children can perpetrate domestic abuse. Be aware of Home Office guidance ‘Adolescent to parent violence and abuse’.
  8. An email will be sent securely to the DSL and the Headteacher following the incident. The school should complete the outcome form notifying the County Council of any actions taken. You will not be notified about a domestic abuse incident if your school is outside of Northamptonshire but the child is from Northamptonshire.
  9. The information is sent so that the school is able to provide appropriate support to the child. The information is not to be shared with the parents or the child unless they disclose.
  10. If you want advice following receipt of a DA notification please contact your Early Help Coordinator (not MASH).  If you have an enquiry about the process please email EIPT-notifications.