Victims of domestic abuse can now access safe spaces at Boots pharmacy consultation rooms – where they can contact specialist domestic abuse services for support and advice.
The UK-wide scheme started on 1 May in response to the desperate situation facing many victims who are isolating with perpetrators during lockdown.
Domestic Abuse Charity, Hestia, has already seen a 47 percent increase in victims reaching out for information and support on its free domestic abuse app, Bright Sky.
While 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men experience domestic abuse, the charity is concerned figures will be much higher during lockdown, making access to support critical.
Head of the UK SAYS NO MORE Campaign at Hestia, Lyndsey Dearlove, said while lockdown and social distancing measures continued – they were restricting victims of domestic abuse reaching out to their friends, family and co-workers for support.
She said: “We know there is an increased level of uncertainty for people looking to escape an abusive relationship…
“We recognise that key workers in pharmacies hold a unique position within the community as a single point of contact for victims. By creating this safe space in Boots pharmacies, we hope many will be able to safely access support while following Government guidelines. We hope more pharmacies will follow Boots UK’s lead and join the Safe Space initiative…”
Chief Pharmacist, Boots UK, Marc Donovan, said: “Our pharmacies have long been a place that people can turn to for help and advice on their local high street…
“We hope that by making our consultation rooms safe spaces, we can help people find the support they need at this difficult time, when many other options are temporarily unavailable.
“This is something our pharmacy teams feel very passionately about and we would like to thank them for stepping forward to help at a time when they are under tremendous pressure.”
Sara*, a survivor of domestic abuse who lived in a Hestia domestic abuse refuge, said:
“Women or men who are now ‘forced’ indoors with an abusive partner or family member really need a ‘safe haven’ where they can retreat to, collect their thoughts, and get support…
“An abuser wouldn’t think that their victim could access help at the local pharmacy or be able to have a moment in a place like that. So being able to contact a domestic violence helpline in this way will be life-changing for many.”
While in the consultation room, people will have access to:
- 24-hour National domestic abuse helpline: 0808 2000 247
- Men’s advice line: 0808 801 032
- Scotland – Domestic Abuse & Forced Marriage Helpline (freephone 24/7): 0800 027 123
- Wales – Live Fear Free Helpline (freephone 24/7): 0808 801 0800
- Northern Ireland – Domestic & Sexual Abuse: 0808 802 141
- Signposting to download the free mobile app, Bright Sky, which provides support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know.