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More than 100 businesses offer domestic abuse victims ‘safe spaces’ to get help

Superdrug, Morrisons and independent pharmacies have joined Boots to make it easier for people to speak out during lockdown.

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Morrisons is among the stores taking part in the scheme (Chris Radburn/PA)

Morrisons is among the stores taking part in the scheme (Chris Radburn/PA)

Morrisons is among the stores taking part in the scheme (Chris Radburn/PA)

Thousands of safe spaces are open on Britain’s high streets after more than a hundred businesses joined a scheme to allow domestic abuse victims to seek help during lockdown.

More than a hundred businesses, including Superdrug, Morrisons and independent pharmacies, are offering private spaces for victims to access support.

The scheme was launched on May 1 by the charity Hestia’s UK Says No More campaign in response to increased challenges faced by victims who are forced to isolate at home with perpetrators.

Safe spaces were installed in consultation rooms in Boots’ 2,400 UK pharmacy stores while staff were given information on how to recognise potential victims.

They are now also available in 200 Superdrug pharmacies, while more than 60 independent pharmacies have signed up to offer their consultation room.

From Monday, consulting rooms in 117 Morrisons pharmacies will be used as spaces while information on where to get help will be shared on posters and till receipts in all 494 stores.

Lyndsey Dearlove, head of UK Says No More, said: “Although we are in a period of isolation, our message is simple: domestic abuse services are open and we can help you.

“Pharmacies and supermarkets allow victims of domestic abuse to discreetly seek specialist support as part of their daily routine.

“Since the launch of Safe Spaces, we have been thrilled to see business from across the UK respond and become part of the solution to helping victims of domestic abuse.

“Our hope is that this scheme will be adopted by every pharmacy in the country so that many more people can access lifesaving support.”

Morrisons said it joined the scheme because “a trip to a supermarket is such a routine activity it’s unlikely to alert an abuser”.

Lisa Leighton, head of people at Morrisons, said: “We want to help our customers and colleagues during this very difficult time.

“We provide an environment for our colleagues where those experiencing domestic abuse feel encouraged and empowered to disclose this, and feel confident that we’ll help them get the right specialist support.

“We wanted to extend this to seek help to our customers. You are not alone. Come to our pharmacies and let our colleagues know if you need help.”

PA