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Boots is providing safe spaces for domestic abuse victims

TextAlex Peters

Pharmacies across the country will be offering access to support

Since the UK has been in lockdown there has been a surge in domestic violence. A report by MPs last week found that calls to a national domestic abuse helpline rose by 49 percent and domestic abuse related deaths doubled in the weeks following lockdown. Support charity Refuge said visits to its website went up 150 percent the week after lockdown was announced, compared to the last week in February, and the Metropolitan police reported it was making an average of 100 arrests a day for offences linked to abuse in the home.

In order to support those who are being affected, a number of measures have been introduced including government money being poured into increasing the number of refuges, counsellors, and helplines. And now Boots pharmacies are providing safe spaces where domestic abuse victims can access support.

Overseen by domestic abuse charity Hestia, which has seen an increase of 47 percent in victims reaching out via its app Bright Sky, the consultation rooms can be accessed by simply asking at the pharmacy counter and will provide numbers for the 24-hour national domestic abuse helpline, the men’s advice line, and phone numbers for services specific to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, as well as information about Hestia’s app. 

Lyndsey Dearlove, the head of Hestia’s UK SAYS NO MORE campaign, said: “Self-isolation offers a new method of control over victims making it very difficult for them to seek support. 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.”

The 24-hour national domestic abuse helpline can be reached on 0808 2000 247.

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