Hundreds of domestic abuse alerts sent to Leeds schools

Chief Superintendent Sam Millar of West Yorkshire Police

Chief Superintendent Sam Millar of West Yorkshire Police

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An innovative scheme where Leeds schools are told at the start of each day about domestic violence incidents involving their pupils has resulted in more than 150 notifications a month being made since its launch earlier this year.

The scheme launched by West Yorkshire Police in April was designed so that school staff can give children involved in potentially traumatic incidents more support during the day. In its first six months, 900 notifications have been made to schools.

Domestic violence is seen as one of the most pressing issues facing local authorities in the city, because of its scale and the fear that many incidents are not reported.

A recent report revealed 16,705 domestic violence incidents were recorded by police in Leeds in the year up to May 2016 and children were presented in about a third of them. Of those incidents, 36 per cent involved repeat victims.

The county’s police force receives between 50 and 60 reports for domestic abuse and violence every day in Leeds.

But in July, Chief Superintendent Sam Millar, of the Leeds Community Safety Team, said efforts being made in the city were making “a really tangible difference”.

In the city, there is a dedicated investigations team to deal with the issue, made up of seven police sergeants and more than 40 officers.

New initiatives include the council’s Front Door Safeguarding Hub, a multi-agency centre that deals with high-level risk domestic abuse reports.

Staff at the hub in Leeds hold a conference every morning, with representatives from around 15 organisations.

They discuss some of the more serious incidents received by police on the previous day, and create action plans to ensure response times are quick.

Separately, West Yorkshire Police is working on a programme where 70 domestic abuse offenders are fitted with satellite tags in a bid to reduce re-offending rates.

The force previously used tagging to manage prolific burglars, but is now using the technology to keep tabs on those involved in domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation and organised crime.

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