Supermarket chain Morrisons opens 'safe space' for people suffering from domestic abuse

The Bradford-based supermarket chain Morrisons is opening safe spaces for people suffering from domestic abuse

Morrisons is the first supermarket to offer a safe space where victims of domestic abuse can contact support services.

Morrisons is believed to be the first supermarket to offer a space where victims of domestic abuse can contact support services.

Morrisons is joining forces with the charity Hestia's UK SAYS NO MORE campaign because a trip to a supermarket is such a routine activity it’s unlikely to alert an abuser.

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From Monday consulting rooms in pharmacies in 117 Morrisons stores will be designated safe spaces where Morrisons pharmacists - who have been specially trained - can direct those seeking help to the support they need.

Information about the safe spaces and where to get help will also be shared on posters and till receipts in all 494 Morrisons stores. Morrisons is working with the charity Hestia which has launched the UK SAYS NO MORE campaign as victims of domestic abuse are forced to isolate with perpetrators during lockdown.

The move comes as the National Domestic Violence Helpline has reported a 25 per cent increase in calls and online requests for help since the lockdown began.

Lyndsey Dearlove, Head of UK SAYS NO MORE at Hestia said: "By offering access to help through their supermarkets Morrisons is offering a lifeline to many victims of domestic abuse. Supermarket trips are part of a routine that, even during lockdown, provides a vital opportunity to seek help without raising the suspicions of an abusive partner or household member. The expansion of safe spaces into supermarkets could save lives.'

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.”

Morrisons will focus on raising awareness and understanding of domestic abuse with colleagues across all 494 stores nationwide over the coming months to ensure that every store becomes a safe space for those who need it the most.

Hestia provides a free mobile app, Bright Sky, which has already seen a 47percent increase in downloads since the lockdown began. The app provides support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know.Victims of domestic abuse can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 at any time.

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