Plans for 'Safe Houses' to help youngsters targeted by gangs and bullies

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Plans for 'Safe Houses' to help youngsters targeted by gangs and bullies
30th May 2014

Teenagers and children being targeted by gangs and bullies could be offered a safe haven under a new scheme which would see ‘safe houses’ set up across London.

Dubbed ‘Block Parents’, volunteers would be security checked before opening up their homes to youngsters and older people who are in trouble. 

A report put forward to the General London Assembly by Conservative member Andrew Boff states there were 22,236 reported cases of youth violence in London between April 2011 and March 2013. 

It also says children aged between 11-14-years-old were victims in more than a third of these crimes. 

Mr Boff said: “Far too many of 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.”

Volunteers would be able to sign up to the scheme at their local police station and go through enhanced security checks. 

If successful, they would be interviewed at home by the programme before being given window signs and placards. 

Each would have serial numbers and watermarks so they cannot be copied. 

Details would also be kept in an online database.

The scheme is based on a Canadian initiative which has between 25-30,000 safe houses and will be rolled out in communities across London including Hackney.

The report also proposes the pilot of Citizen Patrols to work in partnership with Safe Houses. Volunteers would gather information and intelligence on low level crime such as anti-social behaviour.

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