Victims of domestic abuse can seek help in Boots pharmacies in a bid to make it easier for them to access support during the Covid 19 lockdown.
Safe spaces have been installed in Boots consultation rooms where survivors can contact domestic abuse support services.
The scheme has been launched by the charity’s UK Says No More campaign in response to increased challenges faced by victims who are forced to isolate at home with perpetrators.
Reports of domestic abuse sent to UK police forces by Crimestoppers have surged by nearly 50 per cent during the lockdown, while charity Hestia has seen a 47 per cent rise in victims using its free domestic abuse support app Bright Sky.
Lyndsey Dearlove, head of UK Says No More at Hestia, said: ‘Whilst lockdown and social distancing measures continue, it is restricting victims of domestic abuse reaching out to their friends, family and co-workers for support.
‘We know there is an increased level of uncertainty for people looking to escape an abusive relationship. 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 whilst following Government guidelines.”
Posters and small shelf cards telling people a safe space for domestic abuse support is available will be placed around the 2400 UK Boots Stores.
Anyone will be able to ask a pharmacist if they can use a consultation room, with no questions asked.
Boots staff will also be given information on how to recognise potential victims.