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Backers sought for 'Sanctuary' scheme

A ground-breaking scheme which helps protect vulnerable people in their own homes can continue to operate in town thanks to a £4,000 grant from Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC).

Extra door security being fitted under the Sanctuary scheme

Now an appeal has been issued for sponsors and commercial backers so that victims of domestic abuse in communities outside the town area can benefit.

The Sanctuary scheme attracted interest from press, radio and television when it was launched in Boston in 2010 and has so far supported 200 victims. It was in danger of running out of money until BTAC stepped in on Wednesday (July 3) night with its £4,000 donation.

Cllr Stephen Woodliffe, Boston Borough Council's portfolio holder for community safety, said: "I was so pleased to see BTAC approve its generous grant so that the scheme can continue running in Boston.

"It would be a great shame if vulnerable people in other areas in the borough could not also be protected by the Sanctuary scheme in the same way as those living within the BTAC area.

"We would like to hear from anyone, especially a corporate sponsor, who could help."

The scheme has helped protect victims of domestic abuse by allowing them to stay in their own homes and carry on living in an environment familiar to them where they can have support from family and friends.

Support is now needed to continue to supply items such as spy holes, intercom systems, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, door chains, light timers, safety alarms, memo cams and memo cards, which are super-efficient video cameras which detect any unexpected movement inside or outside the home.

Peter Hunn, the council's principal community safety officer, added: "We have had a good and effective campaign helping make life safer for victims of domestic abuse. Some of these are the most vulnerable people in society, placed at risk of harm through no fault of their own.

"It would be a tragedy if we could not continue to support them through lack of funds. The BTAC funding is most welcome, but that money can only be spent on homes in the town area. Some sort of local commercial backing, perhaps from a builders' merchant, for example, could be a lifesaver for victims in the villages. The items we require sponsorship for include security lights, reinforced security doors, door chains, window and internal door locks, fire fighting equipment and alarms. All things to help people feel safe and confident in their own homes.

A partnership of agencies, including Lincolnshire Police, Boston Borough Council and Boston Mayflower work closely with a number of statutory and voluntary groups, including police domestic abuse teams and the South Lincolnshire Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference, to gain referrals.  Boston's crime reduction police officer visits victims at their homes to carry out a crime prevention assessment of the property before liaising with the sanctuary scheme to arrange for the necessary safety equipment to be provided.

Boston Mayflower Housing and maintenance partners, Aaron Services Ltd, Kier Building and D&M Barthorpe support the scheme, providing a handyman to install security measures in victim's homes. 

Karen Shooter, county domestic abuse manager, said: "Every year in Lincolnshire around 10,000 incidents of domestic abuse are reported to the police. 

"Sometimes the threat to life or serious assault is so high that a victim of domestic abuse has to leave their home, belongings, friends, family, job and community to escape the abuse. Often the fear of further abuse can be enough to make people flee out of the area they live. The Sanctuary schemes offer some victims of domestic abuse an alternative.  Changes to door locks, window locks and alarms, plates to cover letter boxes and security lighting not only help to physically protect an individual and give the police time to get to the house, they also help victims feel safer. Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure in their own home.

Sanctuary schemes help to prevent further abuse and improve the emotional health and well being of a victim and their family.

This is an essential service that must be protected."

If you can help save the Sanctuary scheme please contact Peter Hunn on 01205 314245 or email peter.hunn@boston.gov.uk