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.
For more information, please contact Bethan.Kirk@boots.co.uk
Notes to editors
Her Royal Highness first visited a rape crisis centre (RASASC) in Croydon, in November 2009. Since then, The Duchess has made frequent visits to other Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Referral Centres throughout the UK and overseas. The stories she heard during these visits have left Her Royal Highness with a strong desire to raise awareness about rape and sexual abuse and to try to help those affected. In June of this year The Duchess became Patron of domestic abuse charity Safe Lives.
About Boots UK
Boots UK (boots.com), the UK’s largest pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, is part of the Retail Pharmacy International Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.
With 2,465* stores in the UK, its purpose is to champion everyone’s right to feel good. Boots UK is committed to providing exceptional customer and patient care, be the first choice for pharmacy and healthcare and offer innovative 'only at Boots' exclusive products such as No7, a leading UK skincare brand, Soap and Glory and Liz Earle. Created 170 years ago, the Boots brand is still at the heart of the communities it serves.
*As of August 31, 2019 excluding equity method investments
Hestia is one of the largest providers of domestic abuse refuges in London and the South East and is the main organisation supporting victims of modern slavery in the capital. It is the home of domestic abuse and sexual violence campaign UK Says No More and developed the Bright Sky domestic abuse app in partnership with Vodafone. This year, it celebrates 50 years of providing support to those in crisis by providing safehouses, refuge accommodation and support.
Safe Spaces was developed as an initiative of the UK Says No More campaign in response to the challenges faced by victims of domestic abuse during the COVID-19 lockdown and their inability to access specialist support services. It was first launched in partnership with Boots and is now available in 1 in 4 pharmacists across the UK, including major brands and local independent pharmacists.