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‘Safe Space’ offered at Boots Pharmacies for domestic violence victims

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline has seen a surge in calls. Reports have shown an increase of 49% and deaths related to domestic violence have doubled since the Government lockdown restrictions began.

Hestia, who are overseeing the scheme at all 2,400 Boots pharmacies across the UK are also the home of ‘UK SAYS NO MORE’, a national campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence. The scheme was launched in response to the increased challenges faced by victims who are forced to isolate at home with perpetrators.

Victims are now able to visit their nearest Boots pharmacy to access a ‘safe space’ using their consultations rooms. They will be able to have access to the 24-hour National Abuse Helpline and the men’s advice line. There is a Boots Pharmacy on Charlton Road, inside the Chantry Centre and one in the High Street.

A spokesperson from Andover Crisis centre thinks this scheme ‘will be really helpful’ . The Crisis centre who are still offering telephone support as their drop in service have also seen a huge increase in people looking for support. A spokeperson told Andover Radio:

 ‘The issue is, as we have changed to offering telephone support, people are not always in a position where they are able to talk. This will be helpful when people are out shopping as this is when they can get out’

Hestia have also seen a 47% rise in victims using its free domestic support app BRIGHT SKY, supported by the Vodafone Foundation. The app was the first of its kind, launched in 2011 to offer support and information for anyone who maybe in an abusive relationship or for those who are worried about someone who is. It is able to log incidents of domestic abuse without any content being saved on the device itself.

With many employees now having to work from home, we have to work collectively to take action on domestic abuse. There are a number of challenges to be overcome by all organisations in order to maintain capability and capacity whilst protecting its employees. EMPLOYERS INITIATIVE ON DOMESTIC ABUSE offer support and guidance on how to support employees. They recognise that for many victims, going to work is their only safe space and ‘the prospect of having to work from home for the foreseeable future will be an intimidating one’ They have one message and that’s to keep in touch with employees in order to help protect people at risk of experiencing domestic abuse.

Andover Crisis Centre have received 148 enquiries from 23rd March to the 24th April, of those 85 are now receiving support through their outreach service. This is a significant increase from the 57 inquiries they reported in February this year. A spokesperson from the crisis centre told Andover Radio;

 ‘The ‘safe space’ at Boots pharmacies is a great idea, our advice is to stay safe and let loved ones know or have them on dial, and just be honest. Having an escape route planned and your essential documents in one place would be really helpful and obviously call us on 01264 366122’

Due to the current situation, the centre who house 19 residents are unable to accept donations but if you would like to fund raise or offer cash donations then please contact them directly.

For information or support on domestic abuse call: –

  • Andover crisis centre 01264 36612
  • Police 999 press 55 when prompted if you can’t speak
  • Respect Men’s advice line 0808 8010 327
  • The National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247
  • Refuge UK wide 24-hour helpline: 0808 2000 247
  • Welsh Women’s Aid Live Fear Free 24-hour helpline: 0808 80 10 800
  • Scotland National Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriages 24-hour helpline: 0800 027 1234
  • Northern Ireland Domestic Abuse 24-hour helpline: 0808 802 1414