Health Education Partnership (HEP) are coordinating the Westminster Schools’ Domestic Abuse (DA) Prevention Programme for the academic year 2019-2020.
Schools engaging with the programme will receive guidance and support from HEP to:
- Address DA and VAWG (Violence against Women and Girls) preventatively using the whole school approach;
- Strengthen school safeguarding policy and procedures and embed best practice;
- Increase teacher confidence to address DA sensitively and safely;
- Contribute to the improvement of pupils’ mental health and wellbeing;
- Increase pupils’ skills and abilities to form healthy relationship and seek support when in need;
- Increase early identification and prevention of DA cases;
- Meet the DfE statutory guidance on Relationships and Sex Education, Relationships Education and Health Education, February 2019; and
- Attain the Healthy Schools Silver and Gold Awards.
DA and coercive control are safeguarding concerns that often feature in child protection cases. It effects pupils’ mental health and wellbeing and needs to be looked at holistically, enabling pupils to feel safe and supported, and to continue to flourish in their academic environment.
The programme, therefore, has preventative aims. It seeks to increase DA awareness and provide staff with the support and training to:
- Recognise the signs and symptoms of DA
- Understand the impact on children living with DA
- Have an awareness of the referral pathways available for those in need of support (pupils, parents and colleagues)
HEP will work with schools to ensure the programme supports the framework outlined in the DfE statutory guidance on Relationships and Sex Education, Relationships Education and Health Education, February 2019.
- Primary schools. The guidance encourages teaching pupils how to “recognise if family relationships are making them feel unhappy or unsafe, and how to seek help or advice from others if needed”.
- Secondary schools. The guidance encourages teaching pupils “that some types of behaviour within relationships are criminal, including violent behaviour and coercive control” and “how to recognise the characteristics and positive aspects of healthy one-to-one intimate relationships, which include mutual respect, consent, loyalty, trust, shared interests and outlook, sex and friendship”.
Support for schools
Three levels of support are available to all Westminster primary and secondary schools interested in engaging with the programme, as follows.
- From September 2019, a whole school twilight or INSET session on Domestic Violence and Abuse Awareness and Prevention & Relationships and Sex Education will be available to Westminster primary and secondary schools (90 minutes). Details of how to book a session are above.
- A half-day centre-based training is offered to PSHE, RSE, Safeguarding and Healthy Schools leads, and School nurses. In the light of the new RSE guidance the session will enhance the skills, knowledge and confidence to deliver an RSE curriculum that includes key learning about Domestic Abuse and Healthy Relationships. Though a degree of DA Awareness and Prevention will be included in this session, it is advisable to have taken part in the above twilight or INSET training prior to attending.
- The programme promotes a whole school approach and offers on-going support to schools to ensure the outcomes of training are long lasting and sustained. For example, schools may wish to:
- Focus on RSE in their plan for attaining Healthy Schools Silver and Gold Awards;
- Review their Safeguarding, PSHE, RSE, Mental Health and Wellbeing policies and procedures to ensure they are in line with current guidance on healthy relationship and abuse.
- Ensure pupils’ voice is at the centre of all actions taken to address DA.
Intended outcomes of the programme
- An improved response to VAWG through the integration of the whole school approach to prevention of DA;
- An increased level of confidence in staff’s ability to talk about healthy relationship and abuse, including the delivery of curriculum;
- An increased level of confidence in staff’s ability to recognise the signs and symptoms of DA, including the impact on children’s health, wellbeing and safety; and support services available to those in need;
- An increased level of safety of pupils living with DA and those experiencing DA in their own intimate relationship.
For further information on the support available to primary and secondary schools: