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With Mark Dover

Romford bank among first to offer safe space to domestic abuse victims

People in Romford can access the TSB branch in the Liberty Shopping Centre 

A bank in Romford is among the first in the country to provide a safe space for victims of domestic abuse from today. 

Nearly 300 TSB branches across the UK will let victims use a private room to make phone calls, speak to a trained member of staff or contact the local police if necessary. 

It is after domestic abuse charity Hestia found there was a 30 per cent rise in demand for support during the coronavirus lockdown. 

The charity believes this figure may rise as lockdown is eased and more people reach out for help after being isolated at home for so long. 

The blue circle icon indicates a safe space is available

One of the branches taking part in the scheme is based in the Liberty Shopping Centre and has the UK SAYS NO MORE campaign icon displayed in its front window. 

Hestia is responsible for the project and initially worked with pharmacies across the country to provide safe spaces. 

“We had one woman write to us recently who said in her words the safe space had saved her life.” said Director Jo Tilley-Riley. 

“She had been shielding during the first lockdown and the controlling relationship that she had been in had escalated to quite severe physical violence.

“She found out about the safe spaces being available in the local pharmacy in her village. 

“Over a series of weeks when she was going in to collect her prescription she would pop into the safe space and use it to contact domestic abuse support providers, to speak to a solicitor, to make contact with some of her close family who she had lost touch with due to the domestic abuse and essentially to make a plan for herself to leave.” 

TSB is the first bank to sign up to campaign and helps bring the total number of safe spaces nationwide to more than 5,600.

Jo explained it is important to have public safe spaces as perpetrators of domestic abuse often monitor their partners devices and control their communications.

All of the bank’s employees have received training to increase their confidence in responding to disclosures of domestic abuse. 

The support is available to all members of the general public. 

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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