Network of safety refuges launched to help protect women from violence in Sutton

Women and girls who fear for their safety when they are out and about are being offered sanctuary and support by a series of local businesses in the town.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 12:19 pm

Early in October, the Home Office confirmed the success of a £550k bid to improve the safety of women and girls in Sutton.

The Safe Spaces Accreditation Scheme invites all businesses in the Safer Streets target areas to join, offering training for staff to increase their knowledge of what action to take if a vulnerable person requires help.

Businesses will display signs in their windows that can be easily identified by women seeking refuge and will be regularly checked by the police.

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The work forms part of a Safer Streets partnership involving Police and Crime Commissioner Henry, Ashfield District Council, Nottinghamshire Police and Nottinghamshire County Council and other safety partners. (L-R): PCSO Steve Timperley, Commissioner Henry, Chloe O'Donnell (Idlewells Centre Manager), Inspector Mark Dickson and Antonio Taylor (Community Safety Manager at Ashfield District Council)

Inspector Mark Dickson, district commander for Ashfield said: "We are acutely aware that people can feel vulnerable when they are out - especially when they are on their own.

"This is especially true of women and girls and we are constantly looking for ways to make them feel safer.

"This scheme will offer anyone who fears they may be a victim of a crime a place of temporary sanctuary in a trusted and vetted location, and the offer of assistance.

"An example would be a young woman walking alone who believes she is being followed – by entering an accredited business she can either wait for that person to pass, call a friend or family member to pick her up, or call the police for assistance.

"It is fantastic that partners such as Idlewells, Local Choice, and the New Cross pub have joined us in this venture so far.”

Councillor Helen-Ann Smith, Ashfield District Council cabinet member for community safety, said: "We know women can feel vulnerable when out and about on their own, and we hope that the introduction of this scheme will help them feel safer on the streets.

"Knowing that there are safe places they can take refuge and seek assistance if they feel vulnerable will provide piece of mind.

"It is great to see that a number of businesses have already signed up, and I would encourage any business out there to sign up and become a part of the scheme. This project is a real example of how partnership working between the Council, Police and Police & Crime Commissioner is having a positive effect on our communities."

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