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Teacher and Police training program Operation Encompass launches in Gibraltar

Operation Encompass is an early information sharing partnership that is already in place in every police force in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland that enables schools to offer immediate support for children and young people experiencing domestic abuse.

The Minister for Justice, with responsibility for Children and Safeguarding, Samantha Sacramento opened the first training session for the Operation Encompass programme in Gibraltar on Wednesday and, over the following days, a total of 92 teachers and 48 police officers will receive the relevant training.

The harm caused to children by living in a home where there is domestic abuse cannot be underestimated, but early intervention through programmes like Operation Encompass can help to mitigate this harm.

The 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.

Samantha Sacramento said that “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… 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,” she said.

The Commissioner of the Royal Gibraltar Police, Richard Ullger, who was also there alongside Kerri Scott, the Director of Education, said that “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 Scott explained that educators recognised that better understanding of a child’s current context, their background and needs, allowed teachers to be empathetic and mould their teaching to better assist the students.
David and Elisabeth Carney-Haworth, the 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’.”

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