Safe spaces aim to ‘break the silence’

DOMESTIC abuse sufferers can now get specialist support and advice after a “Safe Space” opened in a town centre bank.

HSBC UK has created the welcoming area in each of its branches, including Rotherham’s College Street bank.

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said she was “incredibly impressed” with the facility and its staff.

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One in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetimes, according to government figures.

Domestic abuse makes up 17 per cent of all reported crime in South Yorkshire — with 22,126 cases reported in the height of the pandemic between April 2020 and March 20212.

Launched by the domestic abuse charity Hestia as part of its UK SAYS NO MORE campaign, the Safe Spaces scheme is supported by funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The initiative, which was initially launched in pharmacies, aims to increase the availability of specialist support for victims of domestic abuse and provides a space where people can phone a helpline, contact a support service or talk to a friend or family member.

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Specialist training on “Safe Spaces” has been given to more than 4,000 employees across all HSBC UK’s branches.

Thomas Cross, local director for Rotherham at HSBC UK said: “We are proud to play a significant role in breaking the silence around domestic abuse.

“By providing a Safe Space in the heart of our local community we can reach victims and ensure they get the specialist help and advice they need.”

Ms Champion said: “I was incredibly impressed both by the Safe Space itself, but also by the care and commitment the staff showed towards the scheme.

“Sadly, anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse so to know that there are people who want to support you is really vital.”

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