Council checks website after women's refuges blunder

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A council had to check its website for security gaffes after it published locations of safe houses for domestic violence victims on it, a spokeswoman said today.

Corby Borough Council in Northamptonshire said the properties in question had not been refuges for at least eight years - but it could not confirm when the addresses were posted on the internet under the heading "safe houses".

Their discovery by a private investigator, while trying to trace a single mother and her children, has raised concerns among groups for domestic violence victims.

Nicola Harwin, chief executive of charity Women's Aid, said: "Women's Aid are very concerned that the safety of women fleeing domestic violence has been compromised.

"We would urge all agencies involved in protecting vulnerable women to ensure that their safety and confidentiality are treated as paramount."

A Corby Borough Council spokeswoman said: "We would like to thank this gentleman for bringing this to our attention and we have removed the document immediately, although the document is out of date so does not refer to our current safe houses, but ones that were in use over eight years ago.

"We take our responsibilities for the safe houses very seriously, and have reviewed all the information on the website to ensure that no other information has been included in error."

The spokeswoman could not confirm how long the former refuge addresses had been on the internet.