Schools and police working to protect vulnerable children

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Schools and police will be working together more closely in cases of suspected domestic abuse, under a scheme launched this week.

As of Monday, Herts Police will inform schools within one working day, following a domestic abuse incident within the child’s family, where it is deemed there is a risk to the child’s welfare.

The scheme is being overseen by Herts Police, and is designed to help ensure the child receives appropriate care and support.

Detective Chief Inspector Ruth Dodsworth said: “After their parents, teachers are usually the adults that spend most time with the child on a day-to-day basis.

“Where appropriate, 
police will now inform schools if a serious incident has occurred at home.

“This will pave the way for the school to then 
pay extra attention to that child, or if there are 
behavioural or learning 
issues, the school will know more of the context around them and therefore be able to provide suitable care and support.”

She added: “We will be taking a proportionate approach to the reports, so information about minor domestic incidents where no crime has occurred will not be shared with the child’s school. However work done in other areas has shown that this kind of information sharing has provided reassurance to victims of domestic abuse, knowing that schools are aware of the child’s home environment.”

Herts Police’s response to domestic abuse and deals with investigations into violence, controlling and coercive behaviour, psychological and financial abuse within intimate relationships, is led by the Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit (DAISU).

In 2016 the unit dealt with around 18,500 reports of domestic abuse within intimate relationships and 6,500 crimes, including harassment, assault, stalking and attempted murder.

As well as bringing offenders to justice, much of the teams’ work is taken up with supporting and protecting victims and their families.