More than half of women who report domestic abuse in Hartlepool withdraw their statements

Woman in fear of domestic abuse
Woman in fear of domestic abuse

Police and community safety chiefs say there is still work to do to tackle domestic abuse in Hartlepool.

A meeting of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership heard that more children in Hartlepool are witnessing abuse and violence in the home than anywhere else in the Tees area.

Almost one in two of our domestic abuse clients involves a repeat victim

DCI Helen Barker, Cleveland Police

Officials met to discuss progress that has been made under a Domestic Abuse Strategy and Action Plan that was put in place last year, and the challenges that need addressing.

More than half of domestic abuse victims in Cleveland who go to police later withdraw their support for prosecutions.

Last year there were 1,400 domestic abuse incidents in Cleveland – the third highest rate in England and Wales.

But 55% of victims withdraw their support to prosecute perpetrators which is the second highest nationally.

Detective Chief Inspector Helen Barker said: “The issues for us in the main is the unwillingness of our victims to engage in the criminal justice process.

“Almost one in two of our domestic abuse clients involves a repeat victim, so clearly there’s some work to do.

“For Hartlepool the number of children that are witnessing domestic abuse incidents is higher than anywhere else in the Tees area.”

But there has been a 13% year on year drop in the number of repeat victims being referred for specialist support.

Police have carried out surveys of victims to learn how to improve support.

And DCI Barker said Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy (IDVA) coordinators in police stations are helping to intervene with victims much quicker and earlier.

Cleveland Police has also appointed a Clare’s Law officer to allow people to find out if their partner has a violent past.

Under the partnership’s strategy, 455 secondary school pupils have taken part in a healthy relationship programme. And work is underway to make Hartlepool a town that officially supports the White Ribbon awareness campaign.