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Support for 'silent victims' of domestic abuse

Children are often the 'silent victims' of domestic abuse. Credit: Cleveland Police

A new system to support children who experience, witness or are directly involved in domestic abuse has been launched by Cleveland Police and Hartlepool Borough Council.

Operation Encompass means that before the next school day officially begins, police will already have notified teachers of a domestic abuse incident involving a pupil at their school.

A designated key adult can then intervene early and offer any appropriate support to the child.

Some professionals call children the “silent” victims of domestic abuse as the effect on them often manifests itself in their behaviour – they might become withdrawn, disruptive in the classroom or even physically lash out.

It is hoped that school staff will now be better equipped to support any youngster affected by domestic abuse.

The 38 schools in Hartlepool (covering every child from the ages of 2 to 18 years in primary, secondary and academies) have signed up to Operation Encompass, and Head teachers have received training from Educational Psychologists and specialist police officers.

Posters will be displayed in school reception areas and the Cleveland Police website will include details on Operation Encompass.

"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.”

– Cleveland Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer

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Mobility scooter rider tows boat through Hartlepool

Surprising sight in Hartlepool. Credit: Nigel Swinburne/PA Wire

A person has been seen towing a boat behind an electric mobility scooter through Hartlepool.

The unusual incident was captured by Nigel Swinburne, a plasterer from Hartlepool, who could not believe his eyes as the person drove past him.

The scooter has a trailer attached to the back of it and a boat on top of the trailer.

Mr Swinburne, who was working on the outside of a house on Sheriff Street at the time, said: "I thought there's a boat coming towards me and then 'oh it's being towed by a mobility scooter.

"Obviously I was a bit shocked, that's why I only got the picture when it had passed me. The person didn't seem that old."

When asked, Cleveland Police said it was legal for the boat to be towed by the scooter.

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