Top

Top

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 11 May, 2015

Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety

The Outcome of the Sanctuary Project Pilot in the Vale of Glamorgan

Purpose of the Report

1. To advise Cabinet of the outcome of the Sanctuary Project pilot and to seek permission for the Project to continue through the allocation of additional funding.

Recommendations

1. That the outcome of the Sanctuary Project pilot be noted.

 

2. That Housing Services be given approval to allocate an additional £25,000 to allow the Sanctuary Project to continue.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1. For information.

 

2. To give stability to a service that is providing additional protection to victims of domestic abuse and their families who wish to remain in their own home.

Background

2. Violence against women, domestic abuse (including physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial abuse) is a significant problem in Wales. Domestic Abuse is the most prevalent form of violence and estimates show that domestic abuse affects 11% of women and 5% of men and sexual violence affects 3.2% of women and 5% of men each year in Wales (Robinson et al. 2012).

 

3. The Daffodil system, which is a web based system developed by the Institute of Public Care (IPC) for the Welsh Government based on research and population projection estimates that in the Vale of Glamorgan the number of people aged eighteen and over at risk of domestic abuse equates to:

 

Year Men Women Total
2014 2,160 3,740 5,900
2015 2,209 3,812 6,021
2016 2,243 3,875 6,118
2017 2,283 3,942 6,225


This is based on the reports of domestic abuse in 2012/13 supplied by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). 

 

4. From 2009 to 2011, an analysis of the homelessness presentations due to domestic abuse in the Vale of Glamorgan showed that there was a year on year increase. Most of these presentations and the refuge admissions also included the children of a victim, requiring them to move into temporary accommodation away from their friends, families and schools. Many research projects undertaken over the last decade have shown that children that live with domestic abuse are at increased risk of behavioural problems, emotional trauma and mental health difficulties.

 

5. Many of the victims at that time had indicated that if they were able to feel safer, they would prefer to remain in their own home and to avoid the disruption caused to their lives by moving. Some of the victims that had moved from their homes had also experienced limited protection, as they were found again after a period of time by the perpetrator and the cycle of fear and abuse had begun again.

 

6. Because of these issues, in December 2011 Cabinet gave permission for Housing Services to allocate £15,000 to fund a pilot target hardening scheme in the Vale of Glamorgan named the Sanctuary Scheme (Cabinet Minute C1554).

 

7. The Scheme was set up to give victims of domestic abuse the option to remain in their own home by enhancing the security through the fitting of locks, bolts, door chains and mirrors, mail safe letter boxes, fire safety equipment, personal and property alarms, security lighting and CCTV equipment.

Relevant Issues and Options

8. The Scheme became operational in December 2012 when the Safe Partnership Limited, which also contributed £5,000 match funding were commissioned by the Council's Safer Vale Team to carry out the security work required.

 

9. A review has recently been carried out in order to identify if there had been any cost benefits realised from the pilot scheme, in addition to the personal benefits to the victims and their families. The review covered the period December 2012 to March 2014.The Scheme has however continued to operate since that date until January 2015 as the original funding has only recently been exhausted.

 

10. During the review period, fifty eight referrals were received from the Police, the Safer Vale Partnership, Atal y Fro, the victims, housing organisations and landlords. Of these, fifty seven were female and one male and four of the victims reported a disability.

 

The homes fitted with the additional security were of the following tenures:

 

Tenure Total
Council Properties 16
Private Rented Sector 32
Housing Association 6
Owner Occupiers 4


The total expenditure for the period on these properties was £5,641.35

 

11. Whilst the majority of the properties that had benefitted from the Sanctuary Scheme were located in Barry (thirty six), eight were in Penarth and fourteen located throughout the rural Vale.

 

12. The fifty-eight referrals ranged in ages:

 

Age Number
18 - 24 14
25 - 34 20
35 - 44 21
45 - 54 1
55 - 64 2


13. It is estimated that over the pilot period, the Sanctuary Scheme has in addition to providing stability to families at a difficult time of their lives realised significant savings for the Council. This is based on the following assumptions:

 

Rent loss in each Council property (16 in total) over 7.43 weeks (average void period) @ £88.12 per week average rent (net of service charges) = £10,476

 

Cost of bed and breakfast accommodation @ £280 per week for an average of six weeks (for one room only - bigger families would have required additional rooms) for 58 households = £97,440

 

By comparing these costs to the amount spent on the Sanctuary Scheme, a total estimated saving of £102,275 was realised for the period.

 

14. If however, a refuge space had been available for each family, the cost of bed and breakfast accommodation would have been avoided. The weekly support costs in the refuge funded by Supporting People are £346.80 per client. The average stay in 2010/11 was twenty-seven weeks; therefore the expenditure for this period would have been £543,089 in addition to the rental costs. Although it is unlikely that there would have been capacity in the refuge, a much higher saving of £549,336 would have been realised.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

15. It is proposed that the Housing Service commits an additional £25,000 from the General Fund to sustain and support this project for the next few years.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

16. The project supports individuals within communities of the Vale of Glamorgan and as a result promotes community cohesion and sustainable communities.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

17. A new Service Level Agreement between the Building Services Division (which will be carrying out all future works) and the Safer Vale Team will be negotiated and put in place following advice provided by Legal Services. 

Crime and Disorder Implications

18. The continued availability of safeguards to ensure the safety and security of victims of domestic abuse will have a positive effect on crime and disorder in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

19. The additional security equipment provided by the Sanctuary Scheme is available 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.

Corporate/Service Objectives

20. This report is consistent with the Corporate Objective of the Council.

Housing:

Vale of Glamorgan residents have access to affordable, good quality suitable housing and housing advice and support.

Policy Framework and Budget

21. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

22. The service is 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

23. Housing and Public Protection.

Background Papers

None. 

Contact Officer

Pam Toms, Housing Solutions & Supporting People Team Leader, Housing Services. (01446) 709788

Officers Consulted

Lori Bigglestone, Accountant, Resource Management.

Committee Reports, Legal Services.

Jennie Roberts, Safer Vale

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter, Director of Visible Services and Housing

Share on facebook Like us on Facebook