Recently, the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council conducted a Women’s Safety Survey to understand where women don’t feel safe in the borough. The survey highlighted several hotspot areas such as: Barking Station, Barking town centre, Barking Station parade and Dagenham Heathway. It also outlined that the main reason people felt unsafe were due to people hanging around, drug and alcohol use and poor or no lighting in some areas.

Following on from this, the council will be launching a scheme which will provide safety for all residents. “The Safe Haven” initiative is a project that aims to offer residents and those visiting the borough a safe space to approach if they feel that they’re in danger, threatened or harassed, vulnerable or unwell.

Councillor Margaret Mullane, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety said: “We don’t want residents and visitors to feel unsafe when out and about in the borough, and it is clear from the concerns raised in our survey that work needs to be done to achieve this. Given the events which led to the survey being carried out a key focus for us it to ensure that women feel less vulnerable in Barking and Dagenham. No one should feel unsafe popping out for a pint of milk.”

Premises can sign up for “The Safe Haven” initiative. All premises that are signed up to the scheme will be listed on a Safe Havens register, which will be available on the council website and will provide support to local people by:

    • - Letting you inside if you feel unsafe and keeping out anyone who might be threatening you.
    • - Giving you a space to feel safe.
    • - Calling an emergency service, friend, or family member if you need them to.
    • - Or by simply giving you directions or information on public transport if you’re lost.

There is now the opportunity to take part in a follow up onlinesurveyto create more of an idea of the types of premises, days and times of the week that Safe Havens could be most beneficial.

The closing date for responses is Monday 21st June. To take part in the survey, please click the following link: Safe Haven Consultation | One Borough Voice (lbbd.gov.uk)

Cllr Mullane added: “The Safe Haven is a fantastic initiative and I hope that in the coming weeks many local businesses sign up to it. We all have a part to play in making our streets safer and offering a place to turn when residents feel threatened or vulnerable is a crucial building block.”