We worked with colleagues at Psychology Associates to deliver an independent process and impact evaluation of Operation Encompass: the Next Steps. This was a timely initiative developed in partnership between Northumbria Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Northumbria Police, Barnardo’s, and Operation Encompass. It provided:
- Teaching materials and police staff members to facilitate the introduction of PSHE lessons on healthy relationships and domestic abuse into schools in Northumbria, in advance of these topics becoming a compulsory part of the curriculum in September 2020.
- Dedicated resource to host drop-in sessions in schools for parents/carers, pupils and school staff to discuss relationships and domestic abuse with police staff.
The project is a positive example of a schools-based initiative by police and partners, and of using short-term resource to increase the focus within schools on healthy relationships and domestic abuse. It was effectively implemented and resulted in most schools beginning to deliver PSHE lessons on these topics. There was also a range of qualitative evidence that the project resulted in improved partnerships between schools and police staff and that the lessons improved children and young people’s understanding, confidence and ability to discuss domestic abuse. PSHE sessions and drop-ins also resulted in disclosures of domestic abuse by children and young people, parents/carers and school staff who might not otherwise have disclosed.
As well as these outcomes, the evaluation also identified key learning from implementing the project, which may be useful for those interested in developing similar initiatives.