With one in four women and one in six men experiencing domestic abuse in the UK, and that number estimated to have been much higher during lockdown, Boots has been using its pharmacy consultation rooms in 2,400 stores across the UK as ‘Safe Spaces’
On Tuesday, 28 July, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall visited Boots on Piccadilly Circus to hear about Boots Safe Spaces initiative, and its support of the charity Hestia and its UK SAYS NO MORE campaign.
Speaking at the visit, Her Royal Highness, said: “I’d like to thank Boots for all it’s done throughout lock down, especially for these two causes which are both very close to my heart, for opening these safe rooms, also continuing to support with washbags, they make a huge difference”
The Safe Spaces scheme was launched during the lockdown period in response to the desperate situation facing many victims who were isolating with perpetrators. In the first week of these spaces being available, Boots estimated that over 100 people accessed them.
Tracey Clements, Chief Operating Officer for Boots, said: “We know that our pharmacies have long been a place where people can turn for help and advice on their local high streets. It’s at times like these when our 2,400 stores in communities across the UK take on increased value as a place of safety that’s freely accessible in the local community for those who need it. We are very grateful for Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to our store in Piccadilly, and for her continued support.”
In Boots Pharmacy Consultation Rooms, victims can contact specialist domestic abuse services for support and advice, including information on Hestia’s Bright Sky app, which saw an increase of 47% in downloads during lockdown.
Lyndsey Dearlove, Head of UK SAYS NO MORE, Hestia, added: “Restrictions due to Covid-19 have left many victims of domestic abuse trapped and isolated from friends, family and other support networks. Our Safe Spaces initiative, first launched with Boots, provides a vital lifeline which will continue to be needed even as lockdown eases. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall has already done much to raise awareness of domestic abuse and we hope her visit today will help more victims of domestic abuse to know that they can come to a Safe Space to reach support.”
This visit was also an opportunity to update Her Royal Highness on the Washbags Project, which she initiated in 2017. Since then, Boots UK has supplied 36,386 wash bags to over 50 SARCS across the UK. These bags contain a range of toiletries (including; shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste and toothbrush) and are provided to Sexual Assault Referral Centre clients who have undergone a forensic examination so that they can use them when having a shower and getting dressed afterwards.
The aim is that this gesture provides them with a small degree of comfort and familiarity at a very sensitive and often dehumanising time.
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 1234
- Wales - Live Fear Free Helpline (freephone 24/7): 0808 801 0800
- Northern Ireland - Domestic & Sexual Abuse: 0808 802 1414
- 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.