Hartlepool child support project wins praise

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger.
Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger.

A pioneering scheme launched in Hartlepool to support children caught up in domestic abuse has been praised.

Operation Encompass was launched as a pilot in Hartlepool in April this year and each of the town’s nurseries, schools, academies and colleges signed upto the scheme.  

The initiative sees Cleveland Police reviewing all reported incidents of domestic abuse and notifying teachers before 9am the next day of a domestic abuse incident involving a child at their institution.

A designated key adult can then intervene early and offer any appropriate support to the child whether they were directly involved in an incident or were a witness to it.

Between April 1 and August 31 this year, the details of 237 Hartlepool children were referred to key adults.

The success of the sceme means it is nw to be extended to two other local authorities in the Cleveland Police area.

Police and Crime Commisioner for Cleveland Barry Coppinger added: “It’s great news that Operation Encompass - which has already helped so many youngsters in Hartlepool - is now being extended to other areas.

“Sadly, children and young people can often be caught up in domestic abuse and it is vital that we have prompt and effective systems in place to help them at this most vulnerable time.”

As with education professionals in Hartlepool, those in Redcar & Cleveland andin Middlesbrough will now have received awareness training from specialists.

Frontline response officers, who are often first on the scene at a domestic incident, have also undergone specialist training in readiness for the rollout.

Cleveland is one of the first in the UK to implement Encompass across the whole force area.