Nationwide – the largest branch network of any UK banking brand -– will offer Hestia’s Safe Spaces scheme to people experiencing domestic abuse across more than 400 branches across the UK. A recent poll by Nationwide shows almost half (48%) the population have experienced, or know someone who has experienced domestic abuse, with almost one in four (24%) having been a victim themselves. 

Safe Spaces, launched by domestic abuse charity Hestia as part of the UK SAYS NO MORE campaign, are designated locations in the UK which anyone experiencing domestic abuse can use. Upon asking a member of staff to use their Safe Space, they will be able to use a private room to help them deal with the issue – access to a phone if they need to, and the chance to discreetly contact family, friends or specialist support. 

According to the UK-wide poll of 2,000 people, more than a quarter (26%) of Brits who have experienced or know someone who has experienced domestic violence say financial abuse was the root cause of the abuse. The way financial abuse manifested itself varied, including: 

  • More than half (53%) said access to their/someone they know money was being controlled.
  • Over a third (36%) said spending was scrutinised and funds were hidden from them/someone they know.
  • Around one third (34%) have been pressured into co-signing a loan and/or forced to sign over a power of attorney or know someone who has experienced this, giving their abuser total financial control over their finances.

Mandy Beech, Director of Retail Services said: 

“We’re proud to actively take a stand against domestic abuse and protect and support not only our own customers, but anyone within our communities who may be impacted. We hope that by rolling out Safe Spaces across over 400 of our branches and training all our branch colleagues, we are helping make a difference by giving people somewhere to go and access support safely. Branches are as vital today as they have always been.” 

Patrick Ryan, Chief Executive of Hestia, said:

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Nationwide whose support will make a real difference for victims across the UK. Staff across more than 600 branches have participated in our domestic abuse awareness training. Having a safe route to access support is a lifeline for victims of domestic abuse. That’s why we launched Safe Spaces in everyday places like banks and pharmacies – to provide a safe way to access specialist help and advice, or to call a loved one. By working together, we can ensure that every survivor of domestic abuse has a place to turn to.”