A health care agency has scrapped its plan to set up a safe house here after the address lost its required confidentiality amid public protest of the city-approved proposal.
“As a domestic violence safe house, this would have been a peaceful, safe place for women and children to begin the healing process,” Bill Bassett, co-chair on the BHcare board of directors, said in a statement released after the Aug. 9 decision.
“However, the executive committee deemed that the location is no longer secure and it is in the best interest of the women and children we serve to abandon the project.”
The safe house, which was proposed for Woodmont, would have provided temporary refuge for up to 15 women and children, according to Emily Granelli, director of community affairs and government relations at BHcare, a non-profit behavior health care provider.
The average length of stay would have been about two weeks, though the program is funded to house domestic violence victims free of charge for up to three months. There are 16 similar safe houses in the state, including one run by BHcare, according to Granelli.
Opponents of the shelter argued that it had no place in Woodmont. The leading complaint by residents in the shoreline community related to safety. They said an abuser could easily search out the shelter and inflict further harm on victims or even residents who live nearby.
And this was the message shared on social media sites on the Internet and at a town meeting and that’s how the address lost its confidentiality.
“This is not the appropriate placement for this type of facility because we just do not have adequate security,” a woman who lives adjacent to the property told Milford Patch before the decision was made to abandon the plan.
“The downtown area would be a much better place for this primarily because you have a higher police presence,” the woman added.
Granelli said the type of shelter that was proposed for Woodmont exist in suburban, rural and urban areas. The house in Milford was sought for its quiet location. Regardless, she said, there is no history of abusers confronting victims at the shelters.
“Statewide there is literally no statistic as far as abusers finding a safe house because it doesn’t happen,” Granelli said. “We keep the location confidential."