What is an International Safe Community?
A safe community is a place that is attractive to live, work and visit. A safe community is a liveable community, where people can go about their daily activities in an environment without fear, risk of harm or injury. Perceptions of community safety, real or perceived, impact on the way people feel and interact in their community. Community safety is not only about reducing and preventing injury and crime. It is about building strong, cohesive, vibrant, participatory communities.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) views the Safe Communities approach as an important means of delivering evidence-based violence and injury prevention strategies at the local level.
Based on international safety standards and recommended as an effective approach by the WHO, this initiative sparked community action around the world, leading to safe communities through injury prevention and safety education. Safe Communities Foundation New Zealand (SCFNZ) can draw on global research and resources in injury prevention, safety management systems and crime prevention through environmental design, for safe community development.
The SCFNZ is also a member of the Pan Pacific Safe Communities Network (PPSCN), which brings together safety communities from New Zealand, Australia, United States of America, and Canada – working closely on injury prevention and community safety management systems.
Why are we involved in Marlborough?
Safe and Sound @ the Top
Marlborough’s journey towards becoming an International Safe Community began in late 2011. By intentionally working with existing groups and networks, the ‘Safe and Sound @ the Top’ project brought together different sectors to look at ways of addressing community safety issues and seeking solutions. Strong relationships have been formed across organisations as a forum for the development of ongoing safety programmes.
Locally, we know that several safety issues are affecting our community. Evidence shows increases in reported family violence, assaults and road related injury and death. Alcohol related harm is also on the increase. Concerns for workplaces, safe homes and the outdoors are also areas where safety is of high concern.
To email Safe and Sound @ the Top, use the link below.
For each of the identified issues, a task group has been formed that will bring together a range of stakeholders to collaboratively identify issues, prioritise actions and work out solutions.
Six key safety strands
- Transport safety
- Workplace and learning environments
- Alcohol and other drugs
- Rural and outdoor safety
- Safe homes
- Community and family violence
Supporting these key strands, three ‘vulnerable demographic’ threads and three ‘supporting’ threads were also identified to interweave and matrix our community safety issues. This structure is known as the ‘Marlborough Matrix”.
- Child and youth
- Older adults 65+
- Emerging communities
- Access to services
- Emergency preparedness
Who is involved?
The local initiative was raised in the community by a group of agencies working in the area of safety. For the process to be successful, wide community involvement was needed with over 100 agencies, organisations and individuals contributing to initial community meetings. Leaders have been identified to bring together those interested/affected/already involved in task group areas.
The process is open to everyone and is based on the core values that:
- Safety is a fundamental human right
- People are at the heart of making communities safer places in which to live, work, learn, travel and play
- Everybody has a responsibility to promote and maintain their safety and the safety of others
Marlborough became the 332nd community worldwide to become accredited as an International Safe Community, with a formal accreditation signing held at the Sport and Events Centre in Renwick on 11 March 2014. While the designation gave a good message about Marlborough and was important international recognition that the region did care about its community, the challenge moving forward is to continue the high standards achieved and make our community even safer.
See accreditation document below.
In New Zealand, the Safe Communities Foundation (SCFNZ) supports regions, towns and cities to gain accreditation which provides an indication of a level of achievement within the field of community safety. So far in New Zealand, 25 communities have achieved designation. Details can be found on the Safe Communities Foundation website.