Latest News TSB branches in Worcestershire launch Safe Spaces initiative to offer help to local domestic abuse victims Wednesday, 11th November, 2020 For immediate release TSB LAUNCHES SAFE SPACES INITIATIVE IN WORCESTERSHIRE TO OFFER HELP TO LOCAL DOMESTIC ABUSE VICTIMS TSB commits to helping local victims of domestic abuse with support across four branches as Safe Spaces is trialled in Worcestershire. Safe Spaces, run by the charity Hestia, aims to increase the availability of specialist support for victims of domestic abuse and provides a space for local people to phone a helpline, contact a support service or talk to a friend or family member. TSB joins the scheme in partnership with West Mercia Police to become the first retail bank to provide the service. TSB will launch a pilot in Worcestershire, in branches in Tenbury Wells, Stourport-on-Severn, Redditch and Worcester, prior to a possible national rollout. Worcestershire has become the first region in the UK for TSB to offer support to locals through the Safe Spaces initiative – as TSB dedicates space within four of its branches to help local people suffering domestic abuse and becomes the first bank to provide this support. Safe Spaces, run by charity Hestia, aims to increase the support available to victims of domestic abuse across the UK by providing dedicated space for people to seek help. Alarmingly, domestic abuse is on the rise across the UK and, as England enters a new lockdown, charity Hestia believes this vital option for support could prove even more critical. Figures from the charity showed a near 40%¹ increase in people trying to access specialist support during the first lockdown and the charity anticipates similar future demand – as three thousand victims sought help between April and September this year. Domestic abuse includes psychological, physical and financial abuse, all of which can have devastating consequences for the victim. TSB will be running an initial pilot across its Worcestershire branches over the next 12 weeks before rolling the scheme out across the country. Vulnerable people needing help and advice will be able to find physical ‘Safe Spaces’ within TSB branches in Tenbury Wells, Stourport-on-Severn, Redditch and Worcester. Specialist training has been delivered to a number of TSB employees in these branches who will be available to advise and assist on numerous issues including financial coercion, human trafficking and other criminal activity. Victims can use a private room to make telephone calls, speak to a trained staff member, and get a referral to the West Mercia police service, with whom TSB is also partnered. The support is available to both TSB customers and members of the general public. TSB, West Mercia Police and Hestia believe it's essential that local people in need of support can still access it in a safe environment throughout the pandemic and beyond. TSB branches currently remain open with telephony and in-person visits available. The branch rooms set aside for Safe Spaces remain open and accessible and adhere to current health and safety regulations, ensuring people can still visit safely in line with restrictions. Domestic Abuse Lead Detective Sergeant Sharon Wallace-Rathmell, West Mercia Police, said: “We are really pleased that TSB has chosen to join the Safe Space scheme and support our work with offering a place of safety to the people of Worcestershire. “Domestic Abuse is a leading priority for our force and getting support from local businesses will help us tackle this. Unfortunately, victims of domestic abuse can experience an average of 50 assaults before seeking help and if these Safe Spaces can offer the support they need then we will be able to help more people.” Lyndsey Dearlove, Head of Domestic Abuse Prevention at Hestia, said: “Businesses have a unique role to play in breaking the silence around domestic abuse and ensuring victims can access the help and support they need. Lockdown restrictions due to Covid-19 have provided an opportunity for businesses to step up their response to domestic abuse for their staff and customers. “We recognise banks allow the opportunity for victims to enter discreetly and become a place of safety within the local community as a single point of contact for victims. By creating this safe space in TSB, we hope many will be able to safely access support whilst following Government guidelines.” Ashley Hart, Head of Fraud at TSB, said: “Too many people find themselves victims of domestic abuse, whether that be physical violence or financial coercion. So many of these cases go unreported, with victims feeling like they have nowhere to turn. “We hope that by joining the Safe Spaces initiative, we’ll be able to help provide much-needed support to those in need. We’re proud to be the first bank to offer these services in the Worcestershire community.” -Ends- Notes to editors ¹ During the first six months of lockdown; April-September 2020, Hestia recorded a near 40% increase of those seeking help compared to the previous six months of 2019. Branches operating the Safe Spaces: Tenbury Wells, Stourport-on-Severn, Redditch and Worcester Media contacts: Matt Hepburn, Media Relations Manager, TSB 07483 431 309 / [email protected] Amy Singleton, Corporate Communications Officer, West Mercia Police 07814 285 074 / [email protected] Josh McLean, Communications Manager, Hestia 07845 555 995 / [email protected] About Hestia About Hestia and UK SAYS NO MORE Hestia is one of the largest providers of domestic abuse refuges in London and the South East and is the main organisation supporting victims of modern slavery in the capital. It is the home of domestic abuse and sexual violence campaign UK SAYS NO MORE and developed the Bright Sky domestic abuse app in partnership with Vodafone. This year, it celebrates 50 years of providing support to those in crisis by providing safehouses, refuge accommodation and support. Safe Spaces was developed as an initiative of the UK SAYS NO MORE campaign in response to the challenges faced by victims of domestic abuse during the COVID-19 lockdown and their inability to access specialist support services. It was first launched in partnership with Boots and is now available in 1 in 4 pharmacists across the UK, including major brands and local independent pharmacists. TSB joins other large businesses such as Boots, Superdrug and Morrisons which also take part in the scheme.