A 2013 NSPCC/ATL survey found that just over a quarter of education professionals had been approached by a young person about this subject during the last two years. Our members have told us that this is an issue that they encounter in schools and colleges and on which they would welcome greater support.
ATL is not saying that education staff need to be experts in the field, but that it is helpful for them to adopt a three-stage approach. Education staff need to be able to identify a problem, speak to the relevant people (the person affected and/or the designated school/college lead) and then, if appropriate, signpost to relevant organisations.
The cross-governmental definition of domestic violence is: "any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between partners (16 years and over) who are or have been in an intimate relationship or between adult family members (18 years and over), regardless of gender and sexuality" (HM Government).
The guidance, which should be read in conjunction with the school policy checklist, aims to provide advice and guidance about this issue and support schools in developing a policy. The areas that are covered are:
- behaviours, warning signs and risk factors and impact
- how schools can respond
- supporting pupils
- support for staff signposting to useful websites and resources.
The guidance pack, developed by the NSPCC with ATL, consists of the following:
- a checklist for school policy
- information for schools on relationship abuse
- guidance and safety plan for young people
- guidance on the safety plan for trusted adults and professionals.
It is important to remember that sometimes bad advice can be worse than no advice and this is an extremely sensitive area. If you want further information or have any feedback, please contact ATL's equalities officer Wanda Wyporska.