Council encourages residents to take part in Safe Haven consultation
Barking and Dagenham Council recently conducted a survey to understand where women don’t feel safe in the borough and following on from this, they are now looking to launch a scheme which will provide places of safety for all residents.
The Safe Haven initiative is a project that aims to offer residents and those visiting the east London borough a safe space to approach if they feel they they’re in danger, threatened or harassed, vulnerable or unwell.
The recent Women’s Safety Survey, which was delivered on the council’s Citizen’s Alliance Network, had over 2,500 visitors to the page, 282 people took part in the survey 84 anonymous comments were made and 408 pins were dropped onto the map to show locations where women felt unsafe.
The survey highlighted a number of hotspot areas, such as:
• Barking Station
• Barking town centre
• Barking Station parade
• Dagenham Heathway
And the main reasons people felt unsafe were people hanging around, drug and alcohol use and poor or no lighting.
The council will be looking to deliver the Safe Havens through local businesses and public premises, such as shops, cafes, pubs, libraries and any other similar establishments that wish to take part.
All premises that are signed up to the scheme will be listed on a Safe Haven register, which will be available on the council website and will provide support to residents by:
• Letting people inside and keeping out those who are threatening them
• Giving the individual a space to feel safe
• Calling an emergency service, friend or family member
• Or by simply giving directions or information on public transport
Each establishment will be provided with a Safe Haven promotional sticker that will be displayed in their window.
The council will also be producing In Case of Emergency (ICE) cards that will contain an individual’s name and contact details for someone who can be contacted if they’re in need of help. The ICE cards will be available to download from the council website or be collected from all local council buildings.
Councillor Margaret Mullane, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety said: “The recent women’s safety survey has shown us that there are several places in the borough where people feel unsafe. We have listened to residents and we’re now acting on it.
“We want Barking and Dagenham to be a safe place for residents to live and work and the Safe Haven scheme is just one of our many steps to ensure this.
“I would like to ask all residents and businesses to take part in the survey and help us make Barking and Dagenham a better place for us all.”
Councillor Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement said: “This has shown us what is possible using the Citizen’s Alliance Network and how residents can come together there to share their views on how to improve our borough.
“Nearly 800 people took part in some way which is incredible, and I can assure everyone who took part that we will be using all the information gathered to make the borough a better and safer place.”
The council is now asking residents to take part in the online survey by letting them know the types of premises, days and times of the week that Safe Havens could be most beneficial.
The closing date for responses is Monday 21 June.