Headlines: August 27th, 2010

Sanctuary Schemes supported by local authorities and other agencies such as the police have succeeded in helping families stay safely in their own homes, according to new research. The study by the University of York shows that while domestic violence is one the major reasons families become homeless, protection measures can stop that happening.

The research shows that under Sanctuary Schemes victims of domestic violence have special security measures installed to help keep families safe in their own homes. The exact measures depend on the specific needs of the family at risk but could include creating a safe room in the house, or involve councils and the police installing video entry systems and alarms linked to the nearest police station to ensure a rapid response.

The York study shows that schemes supported by police and local councils, have been hugely successful and often mean families avoid the upheaval of having to leave their home and support networks, putting them at risk of becoming homeless. New statistics also show that last year there were more than 5,000 cases where such schemes prevented homelessness. New guidance has also been produced for councils, the police and other partners to help them ensure their schemes best meet the needs of domestic violence victims.

The Housing Minister, Grant Shapps said nobody should be driven from their home and left homeless because of a violent family member. “This research shows that the effective and practical help Sanctuary Schemes provide can help stop victims of domestic violence becoming victims of homelessness too,” he said.