Safety Houses Initiative and PERICLES project

Safety Houses are an initiative in the Netherlands for multi-problem families that offers a joint approach of care and punishment. Since January 2013, Safety Houses have been delivering fast and efficient services to challenge complex problems through effective multi-agency response. These integrated community safety services aim to develop a safe society now and into the future. Safety Houses are network partnerships that consist of law enforcement, chid protection, welfare organisations and local government. The focus is on families who exhibit more than one problematic behaviour, such as criminal involvement, addiction, and parenting problems, among others. The specific goals of the initiative are to reduce crime, domestic violence, neighbourhood disturbance, and the detrimental impact of addiction on families and communities. Partners identify problems, and work together to design and implement a solution-focused strategy for engaging with families. In addition, Safety Houses can react to local neighbourhood problems such as anti-social and destructive behaviours among youth. The criminal law, or punishment, aspect of the response is complemented by a care aspect that seeks to identify and address the needs of the individuals and families concerned. There is a deliberate focus not just on recidivism and relapse, but also on supporting the offender or addicted person. Safety houses therefore work from a perpetrator-oriented, as well as community oriented, perspective.

PERICLES is exploring smart and productive ways to engage with initiatives like Safety Houses in partner countries. The PERICLES toolkit will be an invaluable resource for national and local governments as they seek to prevent radicalisation and support families that have experienced the radicalisation of a family member. PERICLES therefore fits the ‘Care and Punishment’ model very well and can complement the work of fantastic initiatives such as Safety Houses in their aim to create safe and secure societies.

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