Schools and education provisions are responsible for the safety and welfare for all their pupils. In conjunction with our settings safeguarding policy we are also an education setting within Central Bedfordshire that is signed up to a safeguarding protocol called Relay.
The Relay Support function works in conjunction with Bedfordshire Police and Schools / education settings to assist with essential safeguarding information relating to children. Following a domestic incident being reported to the Police, this Crime Report will be sent to the Relay team to review and provide support the following morning.
It is a very difficult time when families are experiencing domestic abuse and this has an impact not only on the parents, but on the children. Relay works to confidentially share the information with the Safeguarding Lead (Key Adult) in the child’s setting so that the right support can be offered to the child when they arrive. This can be silent support simply keeping an extra eye on the child or immediate intervention for children; offering nurture work, pastoral care or a safe person to share the child’s fears and worries. This work is dependent on each case and the needs and wishes of the child and in some cases parents.
Part of the safeguarding work that takes place following a domestic abuse incident; the Police will make a referral into Social Services’ Access and Referral Hub. The purpose of this is to review the incident to see if there is a role for children’ services but in the majority of cases, unless there is significant risk of harm, the support is offered in the form of Early Help which primarily is led by school. Therefore with school being aware of the situation prevents the need to keep telling people what has been happening can avoid unnecessary distress. School can therefore provide the key link for accessing much needed help and support at this difficult time for both parents and children.
Schools and education settings operate an open door policy and are always approachable should any parent or child be concerned that someone may be suffering from domestic abuse and it is not uncommon that many incidents are unreported to the Police. Schools and education settings can be approached to support children and families with unreported domestic abuse and Relay can support with this as appropriate.
We believe that agencies working together to share domestic abuse information allows everyone to be supported and breaks through a barrier of domestic abuse remaining behind closed doors.