Welsh Women’s Aid welcomes police working with schools to ensure that children and young people affected by domestic abuse are supported. However, this must be done in an informed manner that protects and supports both the child, and the non-abusive parent, and enables them to get the help they may need from specialist services.
The survivors that we work with have stressed the need for all teachers and school staff to be aware of the signs of domestic abuse, so their children can be supported throughout the school environment and in every class; this will require all staff who work in schools to have effective training to understand the impact of domestic abuse. Survivors have emphasised the need for schools to listen to the non-abusive parent when they voice concerns and to ensure adequate sign-posting to local specialist services so that staff know where extra help is available.
In Wales, the Welsh Government in conjunction with Welsh Women’s Aid has developed The Good Practice Guide: A Whole Education Approach to Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence in Wales, which includes guidance for schools to have measures in place to support children and young people who experience domestic abuse and other forms of violence against women.
Unfortunately, an Estyn review published last year showed that there were inconsistencies in schools delivery of a whole education approach. Most school leaders were not even aware of the Welsh Government guidance published in 2015 for schools to deliver a whole education approach to preventing violence against women. Additionally many teachers had received little or no training on these issues.
Police and schools must also ensure that children and young people and their parents know how to get help from specialist services if they’re experiencing or witnessing abuse. For this to happen it is vital that specialist services in the community are adequately funded to support children who are being abused.
Children, young people and adults who are concerned about themselves, their friends, or someone else they know who might be experiencing abuse should contact the Wales Live Fear Free Helpline – 24/7, free and in confidence – on 0808 8010800, text 078600 77333 or email: [email protected]. The Helpline also operates a web chat provision: http://livefearfree.gov.wales/how-to-get-help
 Good Practice Guide: A Whole Education Approach to Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence in Wales, https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/522394/A-Whole-Education-Approach-to-Violence-Against-Women,-Domestic-Abuse-and-Sexual-Violence-in-Wales.pdf