Southampton City Council has signed up to the National Safe Places Network, a scheme that offers a Safe Place for people whilst out in public.
A Safe Place can be any type of premises, ranging from shops, cafés or buildings that can be accessed by the public. They act as a temporary refuge for adults and young people who may feel scared, lost, threatened or at risk and in need of support.
Vulnerable people may choose to carry a Safe Places card with them containing contact details of a trusted person who can be called for help, or for more serious issues, supported by the appropriate advice service or Police where necessary.
While local schemes have existed in the past, business, organisations and partners that register to the Southampton scheme, will benefit from the wide range of resources available from the National Safe Places Network, including free learning materials, posters and a Safe Places sticker for the shopfront/window.
To find the nearest Safe Place, people should look for a Safe Places logo sticker in the shop window/ door. The Safe Place locations that are signed up so far as part of the Southampton Safe Spaces scheme can all be found on the member scheme map. There is also an app available to download on the App store and Google Play called ‘Safe Places’, where people can find their nearest Safe Place based on where they are. The free app also has voice activation technology for people who may have sight difficulties.
Councillor Matt Renyard, Cabinet Member for Safer City said:
“The Safe Places initiative is a simple, yet impactful way to help keep people safe from harm – one of the top priorities of our Safe City Strategy. People may feel vulnerable for many different reasons, and we know from previous local schemes how much of a support these spaces can be, for example for people with a learning disability, autism, or mental wellbeing issues.
“In Southampton, we have adapted the scheme to accommodate violence against women and girls (VAWG) should people experience crimes such as sexual harassment or stalking. Making our public places safer for women and girls is a priority in the Domestic Abuse and Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy and we hope that as more locations join up to the scheme, it will help people to feel safer.”
Chief Inspector Ricky Dhanda, Deputy District Commander for Southampton comments:
“While we clearly play a key role in making Southampton a safer place to live, working closely with our partners is so important, particularly when it comes to reducing violence against women and girls – one of our force priorities.
“If someone using this service has been the victim of a crime, we will take action, and we would encourage people to contact us via 101, online or 999 if a crime is in progress.
“This scheme is just one example of the ways we are coming together to innovate and I hope it sends a clear message to the public that every person has the right to feel safe in our city.”
To find out more about Safe Places, or to sign up, visit the Southampton City Council website: www.southampton.gov.uk/safeplaces/
To sign up, or to ask further questions about the Southampton Safe Places network, please email [email protected]