In the context of the Domestic Abuse Strategy, and following the recent publication of a Bill to reform domestic abuse, the Minister for Justice, with responsibility for Children and Safeguarding the Hon Samantha Sacramento MP, is pleased to announce that the founders of Operation Encompass have been engaged in training teachers and police officers in Gibraltar.
Operation Encompass is an early information sharing partnership that enables schools to offer immediate support for children and young people experiencing domestic abuse. The first training session was opened this morning by the Minister for Justice, the Hon Samantha Sacramento MP who joined by the Director of Education and the Commissioner of Police. Over the next few days 4 sessions will be delivered in which 92 teachers and 48 police officers will be trained.
The harm caused to children by living in a home where there is Domestic Abuse cannot be underestimated, but early intervention through Operation Encompass can help to mitigate this harm. This is already in place in every police force in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
This training will equip the Education department and Royal Gibraltar Police with the knowledge to put systems in place to best support children exposed to domestic abuse incidents. The bespoke training has been organised so that every appropriate teacher and public protection RGP officer who has attended this training can fully understand the impact of domestic abuse on children and explore the ways in which school staff can support a child.
Once Operation Encompass is in place, RGP officers attending domestic abuse incidents can share information about the incident with the school before the start of the next school day. This will mean that appropriate support can be given to a child at the earliest possible opportunity.
The Minister for Justice, the Hon Samantha Sacramento MP, stated: “The lasting effects on children who are exposed to domestic abuse can sometimes be left out of the narrative and cannot be underestimated. I want to make sure that children are front and centre when considering the impact of domestic abuse. Children are our future and we need to make sure they are properly supported so we can ’break the cycle’ of abuse, and ensure they go on to live happy and purposeful lives.
“Children experiencing domestic abuse are negatively impacted by this exposure; domestic abuse has been identified as an Adverse Childhood Experience and can lead to emotional, physical and psychological harm. Rapid provision of support within the school environment through Operation Encompass will mean children are better safeguarded against the short, medium and long-term effects of domestic abuse – making a child’s day better, and giving them a better tomorrow.”
Mr Richard Ullger, the Commissioner of Royal Gibraltar Police stated: “Operation Encompass is another way the RGP is cementing our commitment to tackling and breaking the cycle of domestic abuse. I am delighted that we will soon be in a position to commence with this innovative project.”
Ms Kerri Scott, Director of Education stated: “In Education, we see the person in each child. We recognise each learner is an individual, each with their own context, background and needs. Increased awareness of a learner’s current context empowers educators to better meet the individual’s needs at that moment in a bespoke, empathetic and holistic manner, which in turn will improve learner outcomes both in the moment and moving forward.”
Mr David Carney-Haworth and Ms Elisabeth Carney-Haworth co-creators of Operation Encompass said: “We know that Operation Encompass has a huge impact on the lives of children experiencing domestic abuse. We regularly receive reports about how life changing it is. One adult who grew up in a home where there was domestic abuse articulated ‘it has been said that Operation Encompass saves lives. I say that such grand statements are not necessary. What it does do is make a child’s day better and believe me, if you are that child that’s all you really want.”