Domestic Abuse and Schools: Evidence from the Supervision for Designated Safeguarding Leads Evaluations

This brief report on domestic abuse presents findings from a small study that was nested within two larger evaluations. These larger evaluations examined two school-based interventions, where social workers provided supervision to Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) in primary and secondary schools, respectively.

Pub. Date
04 July, 2023
Pub. Type

The objective of this study was to explore the experiences of identifying and responding to domestic abuse among Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) in schools, and the role of the supervision of DSLs
programme (if any) in schools’ ability to identify and respond to domestic abuse issues. The supervision programme involved DSLs receiving regular supervision sessions from a social worker.

We sought to answer three specific research questions:

  1. How useful have DSLs found previous training and support around safeguarding children from domestic abuse?
  2. How confident and prepared do DSLs feel in identifying and responding to domestic abuse?
  3. Do DSLs perceive any impact on their ability to identify and respond to domestic abuse, as a result of taking part in the DSL supervision programme?

These evaluations were funded by the Department for Education (DfE), via What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC). During the course of the evaluations, the DfE identified a need to better  understand the role of schools and DSLs in identifying and responding to domestic abuse and was keen to use ongoing research studies. Therefore, in March 2022, DfE provided funding to carry out some additional data collection and analysis focused specifically on identifying and responding to domestic abuse. The additional data collection was conducted by adding questions specifically about domestic abuse to the DSL interviews, focus groups and surveys that were conducted as part of the  implementation and process evaluations for the two main evaluations towards the end of the intervention in May–July 2022.