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Sanctuary Scheme and Refuge

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council can help you if you are suffering from Domestic Violence within your home.

Sanctuary Scheme

The Sanctuary project is a victim-centred initiative which provides additional security measures to the home of those who have experienced violence. Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council recognises that whilst some victims of domestic violence relocate to another area, there are some that chose to stay in their homes with support and help from other agencies. The scheme aims to make it possible for victims of violence to remain safely in their homes, hereby preventing homelessness.

  • The primary aim is to increase the housing options available to victims of violence and will only be used when it is their choice to do so.
  • The scheme was launched in September 2006 to address the needs of the victims and their families.
  • The scheme can only be offered in circumstances where the offender has no legal right to enter the property.

The main feature of the project is the creation of a 'sanctuary room' which consists of a safe room which complies with the fire regulations and is tailored to meet the needs and circumstances of the individual case. The room is a safe place for the family to occupy whilst waiting for the police to attend.

Additional security features include:

  • Replacing a door (usually to the main bedroom) with a solid core door and reversing it to open outwards.
  • Fitting mortise bolts to the inside of the door, top and bottom along with three large steel hinges and high bolts.
  • Fitting a 180 degree door viewer.
  • Replacing front and rear doors to the property where necessary. In such cases an external letterbox will be provided.
  • Providing a free mobile and charger, to be kept in the room to allow the victim to dial 999.
  • In some cases, additional security measures may be recommended, for example, window grills.
  • In the majority of cases, victims will also be provided with fire safety equipment which includes, smoke detectors, Hammers, to break glass and collapsible fire escape ladders.
  • Properties where a Sanctuary Room has been installed will be known to Hertfordshire Constabulary to allow the police to prioritise a response to any call from that address.
  • There is no charge for these services.

The scheme can be considered for any person at risk of homelessness due to violence in Welwyn Hatfield. This is regardless of whether the victim is a Council or Housing Association tenant, Owner Occupier or a Private Tenant.

Please contact our Housing Advice Team for more information and help with the Sanctuary Scheme.

Refuge

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council also have access to women's refuges both in and out of the borough. Refuge provides a safe environment for women with or without children and the staff provide emotional and practical support. Conditions in refuges vary according to the availability of resources and you would most likely have to share communal facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens. Some women's refuges have their own second stage temporary accommodation which it may be possible for you to move from a refuge while you are waiting for more permanent accommodation. Please note, not all refuges accept boys over 13.

Male victims of domestic violence

If you are a male victim of domestic violence, and need confidential help, contact Men's Advice Line 0808 801 0327

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