A major new scheme to help victims of domestic violence and hate crime has been launched across Manchester.
The Sanctuary Scheme is accessible to tenants of Eastlands Homes, Northwards Housing, Willow Park Housing Trust and Parkway Green Housing Trust.
The organisations have formed a partnership with Greater Manchester Police to enhance their capacity to provide protective and supportive measures to assist their tenants affected by domestic abuse and hate crime.
Each organisation has designated champions to support residents though the scheme and beyond. The Sanctuary Scheme helps people to remain in their homes and feel safer by adding security measures to their property to meet the individual’s needs.
Sheila Doran, Chief Executive at Eastlands Homes said: "Victims should never have to leave their homes - they suffer enough. It's not just about moving home as children often have to move schools as well, which is very hard on them and damages their education. It's for these reasons that we have joined together to develop this scheme. We're determined to support victims and we take a zero tolerance approach to perpetrators of violence."
A 'Sanctuary Room' is created, often in the main bedroom, by replacing the door with a solid core door that is fitted so that it opens outwards. Steel hinges, bolts and a door viewer are fixed to the sanctuary room door. This room is often referred to as a 'safe room'. Additional security measures can also be provided in the home, including extra locks on windows and doors, window grilles, gates and anti arson letterboxes. Each security package is individually designed to meet the needs of each person.
Sanctuary Schemes have been proven to prevent homelessness by giving people the security and confidence to stay in their own home, and police officers agree that it is a safe option.
Inspector Steve McFarlane of Ancoats neighbourhood policing team said: “Everyone has the right to feel safe in their own home, yet for some victims of domestic abuse this is not always the case. Through this sanctuary scheme we hope anyone who has suffered at the hands of an abuser has somewhere they can feel safe and secure at home.”For further information about the sanctuary scheme tenants should contact their landlord. If they do not live in a property that belongs to one of the agencies involved, they should contact Manchester City Council who operate a similar scheme.