Domestic violence. Silhouette of a woman protecting herself from a blow from her partner by holding her arms in front of her face

Domestic violence. Silhouette of a woman protecting herself from a blow from her partner by holding her arms in front of her face

CHILDREN living in a home blighted by domestic abuse suffer trauma similar to soldiers at war, the head of a scheme to help youngsters said today (THURS)

As Operation Encompass, a police scheme to alert schools when pupils are affected by violence or abuse, was launched in Stockton, former superintendent Shane Sellers said youngsters needed support from schools to help them face what was going on at home.

Encompass was launched by Cleveland Police in Hartlepool last year and has since been rolled out to Redcar & Cleveland, Middlesbrough and now, Stockton. More than 600 children have already been referred.

Mr Sellers, a retired officer, has been brought back into the force to head up the scheme, which informs schools, nurseries or colleges every time one of their pupils is involved either directly or indirectly in a domestic abuse incident, where police have been involved.

He and his colleagues have been carrying out training in schools – and said there was not one school untouched by the issue.

At the launch at Stockton Sixth Form College, he said: “Research has been done which showed children are deeply affected by domestic abuse, even if they are not in the room they still hear what is going on.

“This research which looked at brain scans showed the trauma is equivalent to a solider suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

“Teachers may think the child is withdrawn, or just naughty, but with this then hopefully they will understand why they are behaving a certain way and look at ways of helping them.”

In each school a specially-appointed adult will intervene early and offer support.

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