19 June 2024

Hestia has responded to warnings that abuse levels will rise during the Euros. We have joined together with high street banks and pharmacies – including Nationwide, HSBC UK, TSB, NatWest Group, Metro Bank, Superdrug and Boots – to urge anyone at risk to access support via one of our thousands of designated Safe Spaces on the high street. Hestia, which provides domestic abuse refuges for women and children experiencing domestic abuse, has established over 6,000 Safe Spaces alongside partners, including:  Nationwide, HSBC UK, TSB, NatWest Group, Metro Bank, Superdrug and Boots, plus many more. 

One in five people, rising to one in four women, experience abuse in their lives. National Centre for Domestic Violence highlights reported incidents increased by 26 percent if England play, 38 percent if England lose, and 11 percent the next day, win or lose. 

More recently, Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for domestic abuse, acknowledged that increased alcohol consumption along with the intense emotional highs and lows of a football tournament can act as a catalyst for pre-existing abuse. 

Safe Spaces – private rooms within branches, shops and stores - are a vital place to seek temporary refuge providing privacy. They are a ‘no questions asked’ place for anyone in need. Victims making use of the spaces will also find numbers to call on a phone provided to help them access specialist support.  

Signs which could indicate a friend or family member is a victim of abuse include:  

  • Being prevented from seeing friends or family 
  • Being tracked 
  • Losing control of their independent finances 
  • Unexplained injuries 
  • False accusations against them 
  • Unpredictable mood swings 
  • Change in appearance or being embarrassed by their partner 

Sue Harper, Deputy Director for Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Prevention at Hestia said:

 “For the majority of people, the Euros will bring fun and enjoyment. But for others it can be a terrifying time, with statistics shining a light on the darker side of football.  That is why it’s vital that we spread the word about Safe Spaces - offering a private place for those who need it to access support safely.”

Mandy Beech, Director of Retail Services at Nationwide said:

“We now have over 430 safe spaces up and down the country for anyone in need to use and we are saddened to say they are in regular use. At a time when incidents are expected to rise, it is important that there are places where they can go to seek advice and stay safe.”

Maxine Pritchard MBE, Head of Financial Inclusion and Vulnerability for HSBC UK, said:

“Providing an accessible and discreet safe space can make a real difference to those effected by domestic violence. Working alongside Hestia and the Safe Spaces Scheme, HSBC UK has been able to help hundreds of people access essential resources and support. With incidents expected to increase over the coming weeks, it’s critical people can access the protection and support they need."

Kate Osiadacz, Head of Responsible Business, TSB, said:

"Tragically, domestic abuse is known to spike during sporting events - and we would urge anyone seeking help and support to reach out. There is help available from domestic abuse services, and TSB through our Safe Spaces, both online and in branch, and our emergency flee fund for customers."

Raghu Narula, MD of Customer Engagement and Distribution, Retail Banking at NatWest Group said:

“At NatWest we know the impact of economic abuse and the importance of handling with care, making sure that support can quickly reach those affected. As a bank it’s really important to be playing a part in helping not only our own customers, but people within our communities who need help – that’s why we donated £2 million in total to the SafeLives Circle Fund and opened Safe Spaces in over 360 branches this year."

Find your nearest Safe Space.

Anyone in immediate danger should always call 999. Anyone looking for a space in a domestic abuse refuge can contact the Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.