Hestia and Royal Mail shortlisted for developing crucial portal for victims of domestic abuse at the Better Society Awards

Hestia’s UK Says No More campaign in partnership with Royal Mail has been shortlisted for the Better Society Award’s Tech for Good category for their Online Safe Spaces initiative, a discreet online portal to provide support to anyone that is a victim of domestic abuse.

In June 2020, calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline were 80% higher than usual. With the UK in lockdown and victims unable to physically escape their abusers, demand for an online solution was critical to make a positive difference to anyone in need of support from domestic abuse.

Combining expertise from Royal Mail, with insight from the University of Bristol and Hestia, the first digital platform to support victims of domestic abuse, Online Safe Spaces, launched in September 2020, three months after the initial concept was developed. 

The Better Society Awards reward commercial companies and charities that are helping create a better, more equal, ethical and sustainable world for all.

Sue Harper, Head of Domestic Abuse Prevention said:

“We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for the Better Society Awards as Online Safe Spaces have made a real difference in supporting victims of domestic abuse.  Since we launched in September 2020, we estimate that Online Safe Spaces have been used on average once in every 34 seconds with a present usage figure of 70,000 unique users a month. We reached the milestone of 1 million visits to Online Safe Spaces in April 2022.”

Penny Amatt, Corporate Responsibility Programmes Manager at Royal Mail Group said:

“We’re incredibly proud of Online Safe Spaces and delighted that the initiative has been recognised for this award. As one of the largest employers in the UK, we understand that our scale and reach can play a unique role in breaking the silence around domestic abuse and supporting victims to find and access the help and support they need.” 

The 8th Annual Better Society Awards will take place on Wednesday 11th May at the London Marriot Hotel, Grosvenor Square.

Notes to Editors

About Online Safe Space

Online Safe Spaces’ is a discreet portal that opens in a pop-up window, which can be installed on both internal and external websites. The service provides support, advice and helpful contact numbers for those at risk of domestic abuse. It leaves no internet history trace and provides quick exit options for the person seeking information.

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.

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. Boots, Superdrug, Morrisons and TSB Banks also take part in the scheme. 

About Royal Mail plc

The Group consists of two principal operations; our UK-based operation which includes Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide (Royal Mail) and our international operation, General Logistics Systems (GLS). Royal Mail is the leading provider of postal and delivery services in the UK and the UK’s designated universal postal service provider. Through the Royal Mail Core Network, the company delivers a one-price-goes-anywhere service on a range of parcels and letters products. Royal Mail has the capability to deliver to more than 31 million addresses in the UK, six days a week (excluding UK public holidays). Parcelforce Worldwide operates a separate UK network which collects and delivers express parcels. General Logistics Systems (GLS) operates one of the largest ground-based, deferred parcel delivery networks in Europe.