POLICE and education chiefs in Hartlepool have launched a new campaign to help child victims of domestic abuse.
Operation Encompass aims to help school staff to support pupils affected by abuse at home either directly or by witnessing it by working more closely with Cleveland Police.
The force has teamed up with Hartlepool Borough Council to launch a pilot scheme.
It means police will notify teachers of a domestic abuse incident involving a pupil so a designated adult can intervene early and offer support.
Children affected by domestic abuse, referred to by professionals as silent victims, can become withdrawn, disruptive in class or even physically lash out.
All 38 Hartlepool schools have signed up to Operation Encompass, and head teachers have received training from Educational Psychologists and specialist police officers.
Cleveland Police have pledged to roll Encompass out force-wide within a year of the Hartlepool pilot scheme.
Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer said: “Tackling domestic abuse is an absolute priority for the Force. Operation Encompass is a perfect example of our Victim First policy, which is at the heart of what we do.
“We can and already do record if children are present, witness or are involved in domestic abuse situations but Cleveland Police has never asked the simple question of which school they attend. I’m convinced this will greatly help youngsters who can suffer in many ways – either in the immediate aftermath of seeing or experiencing domestic abuse, or days, weeks or even months down the line.”
Posters will be displayed in schools and details also put on the police’s website.
Gill Alexander, director of Child and Adult Services for, said: “We already have excellent systems in place to share information among the relevant agencies but this initiative will improve things further by ensuring that schools are informed immediately of any issues that could impact on a child’s life.”
Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger, added: “Children and young people who experience domestic abuse are among the most vulnerable members of our society and we have an absolute duty to protect and support them.”
in every way possible.”