Secured by Design (SBD), is a national police crime prevention initiative, seeking to reduce crime to help people live in safer homes and within a safer society. With the support of SBD trained officers and staff in Police Forces around the UK, they work with a wide range of organizations to ‘design out crime’ by developing and supporting crime prevention techniques and products.
One of the initiatives that SBD provide is the Sanctuary Scheme – a place of security for those at risk. It’s a victim centred initiative, with the primary aim of protecting victims of domestic abuse in their own homes. A Sanctuary Scheme home is installed with extra security measures so that women and their children at risk of domestic violence are able to remain safely in their own home (and where the perpetrator no longer resides in the property). Some of these homes will also include even further security in the form of a Sanctuary Safe Room (which delays unlawful entry), aimed at providing a safe and secure place for women to call and wait for the emergency services.
Since its creation in 1998, the scheme has successfully helped thousands of victims of domestic abuse remain safely in their homes and maintain their social roots. It has also resulted in huge savings for police forces, healthcare services and local authorities, with less serious assaults to investigate, less families to re-house and less children to re-school.
Following a further part investment of £2m from Greater London Authority (GLA) into the Real Lettings Property Fund² (RLPF²) thirty-four properties purchased by this Fund are being used to help house ex-rough sleepers and women who have experienced domestic violence, as part of the GLA’s ‘Move On’* programme. These homes are being refurbished to broadly the same specification as all RLPF² properties. However, in addition, these Move On properties are also all receiving furniture and additional security - to meet the Secured By Design Bronze standards - and some are having Sanctuary Safe Room’s fitted. These properties became available from this autumn.
Louisa Rolfe, Deputy Chief Constable of West Midlands Police and National Policing Lead for Domestic Abuse says: “As the National Policing Lead for Domestic Abuse, I’m committed to working in partnership and exploring all areas in technology, education and design to protect victims and keep them safe. The SBD team have clearly invested a great deal of time and consideration in developing this product to ensure a standardised minimum specification in the installation of security measures for domestic abuse victims. Ensuring the safety of victims, particularly in the sanctuary of their own home, is a priority for policing.”
A Designing Out Crime officer said: “The Sanctuary Scheme work completed for the Move-On programme, will help these most vulnerable people in our society, transition towards independent living, safe in the knowledge that their homes have been certificated to the Secured by Design police preferred standards.
“Protecting vulnerable victims of domestic abuse is a priority for Police Crime Prevention Initiatives. Our aim with the Sanctuary Scheme is to give victims of domestic abuse the choice to stay safely in their homes and put down social roots.”
Robin Short, Resonance’s Property Refurbishment Manager says: “It’s been a great learning experience with excellent support from Lee and Steve. The Secured by Design security certification will ensure best standards are met to create safer and secure homes for those most in need - giving them the chance to start rebuilding their lives.”
The learnings and specifications may also be incorporated into future Funds, such as Resonance’s Women In Safe Homes (WISH) Fund.
* The GLA’s Move On sees individuals moved on from hostels, refuges and other temporary accommodation into new homes where they’ll be supported to live independently ahead of moving into private rented or social housing.
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