Agenda Item No
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Cabinet Meeting 13th December 2011
Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing and Community
Target Hardening to the Homes of Victims of Domestic Abuse
Purpose of the Report
To obtain authority to undertake a one year target hardening pilot
initiative to allow those in danger of suffering from domestic
abuse to remain in their own home of all tenures if it is deemed
safe and appropriate for them to do so.
That Housing Services allocates up to a maximum £15,000 to the
Council's Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator to enter into an agreement
with Safe Partnership Limited to provide target hardening services
for one year to the homes of people in danger of experiencing
That the outcome of this pilot be reported back to Cabinet at the
end of the period.
That the report is referred to Housing and Public Protection
Reasons for the Recommendations
To provide additional protection to victims of domestic abuse and
their families who wish to remain in their own home.
To determine the effectiveness of the service in the prevention of
homelessness and the savings realised to Housing Services.
In the United Kingdom, domestic abuse accounts for 16% of all
violent crime (British Crime Survey 2006/07) and is the largest
cause of death worldwide in women aged 19-44. It will affect one in
four women during their lifetime and on average two women a week
are killed by a male partner or former partner (Department of
Health 2005). In addition, in 2001 in England and Wales the
estimated cost of domestic abuse to the public purse was £23
In the Vale of Glamorgan in 2010/11 twenty-four women and
twenty-four children were accommodated in the five unit Barry
Refuge managed by Atal y fro (previously Vale Women's Aid). In
addition, many women and their families had to move to refuges
outside of the Vale of Glamorgan, away from their extended families
and support networks because the local refuge was full, whilst
others were placed in temporary accommodation through the homeless
Homelessness presentations because of domestic abuse for both
genders are also increasing in the Authority. There were thirteen
full homeless applications taken in 2009/10, twenty-five in 2010/11
and fifteen in only the first six months of 2011/12.
Most of the homelessness presentations and refuge admissions also
included the children of a victim. This resulted in distress and
disruption to their lives, by placing them in temporary
accommodation away from their friends, families and schools.
Several research projects undertaken over the last decade have also
shown that children that live with domestic abuse are at increased
risk of behavioural problems, emotional trauma and mental health
Relevant Issues and Options
In the Vale of Glamorgan, many victims of domestic abuse have
indicated that if they were able to feel safer, they would prefer
to remain in their own home and avoid the disruption to their lives
caused by moving. Some victims that moved from their homes have
also experienced limited protection, as they were found again after
a period of time by the perpetrator and the cycle of fear and abuse
has begun again.
In an effort to give victims of domestic abuse the option to remain
in their own home, the Housing Service is proposing to part fund a
one year pilot scheme. This will be set up by the Domestic Abuse
Co-ordinator in the Council with Safe Partnership Limited (SPL) to
provide and fit target hardening equipment to victim's homes of any
SPL is a registered charity which already works in partnership on
similar schemes in over thirty local authorities across the United
Kingdom. They will provide suitably trained and Criminal Bureau
checked security fitters to install the required equipment to
properties. The list of additional security devices is extensive
and include locks, bolts, door chains and mirrors, mailsafe
letterboxes, fire safety equipment, personal and property alarms,
security lighting and CCTV equipment.
SPL has offered the Council up to £5,000 match funding to commence
this work and it is proposed that the Housing Service commits up to
a maximum of £15,000 additional funding for the one year pilot.
This is expected to partially reduce the void and re-let costs
incurred for council properties and reduce accommodation costs
incurred when placing a victim (and in the majority of cases their
children) in temporary accommodation through the homelessness
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate
Change, if appropriate)
10. Up to a maximum of
£15,000 for one year match funding to be found from within the
existing Housing and General Fund budget.
11. Although this service
will be available to all housing tenures, there is also an
opportunity to make a saving to Housing Services through a reduced
number of properties becoming void and to the homelessness budget.
Currently an average of only ten social rented properties per week
become available for re-let. It therefore means that clients to
whom the Council has accepted a homeless duty spend a substantial
period of time in temporary accommodation before becoming
permanently housed. This also resulted in 2010/11 to the average
stay in the Refuge being 27 weeks.
12. The cost of temporary
accommodation places a considerable financial burden on the
Council. Due to the lack of social housing and the scarce
availability of other forms of temporary accommodation in the area,
some of these people had to be placed in bed and breakfast
accommodation. The average cost of each room was £280 per week,
which led to the Council spending nearly £250,000 for the year. Any
decrease in presentations to the Council through homelessness would
therefore assist the Council to reduce the use of bed and
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
13. The Service Level
Agreement between the Council and Safe Partnership Limited will be
referred to Legal Services for comment by the Domestic Abuse
Co-ordinator prior to the pilot being implemented.
Crime and Disorder Implications
14. The development of
additional safeguards to ensure the safety and security of victims
of domestic abuse will have a positive affect on crime and disorder
in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language
15. The target hardening
equipment will be made available through this project to both male
and female victims of domestic abuse, in accommodation of all
tenures and throughout the Vale of Glamorgan, thus ensuring
equality of access to all.
16. This report is
consistent with the following Corporate and Service Objectives of
Health inequalities are reduced and
residents are able to access the necessary services, information,
wellbeing and quality of life.
Policy Framework and Budget
17. This report is
consistent with the Policy Framework and budget.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
18. The service will be
available to vulnerable people who are in danger of experiencing
domestic abuse throughout the Vale of Glamorgan; therefore no
individual ward member consultation has been undertaken.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
19. Housing and Public
Pam Toms, Strategy and Supporting People
Charlotte Porter, Domestic Abuse
Adam Edwards, Building Manager, Building
Operational Manager, Legal Services
Pam Toms, Strategy and Supporting People