Page last updated at 18:43 GMT, Thursday, 17 September 2009 19:43 UK

'Panic rooms' for abuse victims

Domestic violence victims can now have their homes fitted with a special panic room to keep safe from their attackers.

West Lancashire Borough Council has introduced the Sanctuary Scheme, an initiative which ensures victims are not forced to flee their properties.

Extra locks on doors and windows, personal safety alarms, and a safe room can be fitted.

Councillor Val Hopley said: "Moving can cause a lot of upset and disruption at a time when they most need support."

'Escape the perpetrator'

According to Women's Aid over two women per week are killed by current or ex-partners, and one in four women in the UK will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

The support is available for anyone suffering from such violence living in West Lancashire who needs to remain within their home, and has rights to it.

Councillor Hopley added: "Survivors of domestic violence often have to flee their homes as a result of the abuse to escape the perpetrator.

"The Sanctuary Scheme offers another alternative for those who want to avoid the upheaval of moving but without living in fear in their own home, because the initiative offers a number of measures to help victims feel safe.

"Providing that the property is physically suitable and it can be established that the perpetrator of the violence is no longer living in the home and is not likely to return, you can find out if you're eligible."

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