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One in four pharmacies open ‘safe spaces’ for people facing domestic abuse

A report from the charity Hestia has estimated that at least 3,700 people have used safe spaces since they launched in May 2020.

Empty consultation room

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Many community pharmacy consultation rooms are made available to people experiencing domestic abuse as a place where they can phone case workers or access support services

A quarter of pharmacies are now running a ‘safe space’ for people affected by domestic abuse, the charity Hestia has said in a report.

The report, ‘Domestic abuse in lockdown’, estimated that at least 3,700 people have visited a safe space since they opened in May 2020 as part of the charity’s UK Says No More campaign.

Hestia, which supports vulnerable adults and children in crisis, launched the campaign “to make sure victims could access support remotely and safely” during the COVID-19 lockdown, the report said.

The safe spaces, in which community pharmacy consultation rooms are made available to people experiencing domestic abuse as a place where they can phone case workers or access other support services, have been implemented by Boots, Superdrug and Morrisons pharmacies, as well as independent pharmacies.

The report said that, across the UK, one in four pharmacies are now running a safe space in their consultation room.

“Based on the survey completed by 178 pharmacists, we estimate that since the launch there have been at least 3,700 visits to a safe space,” the report added.

Commenting on the report, Sandra Gidley, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said she was “delighted” that so many pharmacies signed up so quickly to support those experiencing domestic abuse by providing a safe space.

“People trust their community pharmacy, which makes them an ideal place to get help.

“We fully support the UK Says No More campaign and encourage other pharmacies to take part to make even more safe spaces available to those who need them.”

Pharmacies can register to become a safe space at: uksaysnomore.org/safespaces.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2020.20208432

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