Greater London Authority member for Sutton and Croydon wants to trial Safe Houses

Sutton Guardian: Steve O'Connell wants to trial a scheme that has proved successful in Canada Steve O'Connell wants to trial a scheme that has proved successful in Canada

The Greater London Authority (GLA) member for Sutton and Croydon, believes setting up Safe Houses will help reduce youth violence .

A new report called Home Safe Home proposes piloting the idea in five communities across London.

Under the scheme people who have been security checked and interviewed, will become ‘block parents’- able to open up their homes to children and adults in trouble.

If the pilots go ahead Sutton and Croydon will be included the trial.

Figures from the GLA state there were 22,236 cases of youth violence in London between April 2011 and March 2013.

According to the stats 11 to 14-year-olds were victims in a third of these cases.

GLA figures also state there were 71,042 reports of anti-social behaviour in that period.

The Home Safe Home report also proposes creating citizen street patrols to tackle crime.

If the scheme goes ahead the teams will not replace local policing, but act as the eyes and ears of the community to help deter crime.

GLA Conservative Assembly Member Steve O’Connell, said: “Often our children are victims of senseless violence.

“Not only do Safe Houses offer a safe place if you are bullied, mugged, followed or attacked, but the prominent signs and placards would act as a deterrent to gangs, muggers and child abusers, who would think twice before committing a crime.

“I urge the Mayor to pilot this scheme in Croydon & Sutton.”

The scheme has been successful in Canada where there are between 25-30,000 safe houses.

It only cost around £820 to recruit 10 block parents in a community of 25,000 people.

Linda Patterson, National President of the Block Parent Program of Canada, said: "Safe Houses have been a main stay in Canadian Communities for over 45 years. They are a safety net for our children as well as elders."

"My advice is to start in small pockets of London, and gradually grow it, ultimately having individual projects running side by side in different neighbourhoods.” 


 

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