TSB becomes first bank to offer Safe Spaces for victims of domestic abuse

  • Charity Hestia’s Safe Spaces initiative expands as TSB becomes the first high street bank to offer scheme and joins 5,300 pharmacies in providing Safe Spaces for victims.

  • TSB’s national commitment sees rollout in 290 branches across the UK and follows pilots in Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire.

  • Safe Spaces provides a space for victims of domestic abuse to phone a helpline, contact a support service or talk to a friend or family member.

From today, victims of domestic abuse can access a safe space in 290 TSB branches across the UK to seek specialist support and advice, as TSB becomes the first bank to sign up to the scheme.

Launched by the domestic abuse charity Hestia and its UK SAYS NO MORE campaign, with support from People’s Postcode Lottery Recovery fund, the scheme will enable more victims to find help on their local high street especially as lockdown restrictions ease across the UK.

TSB’s commitment follows three pilots run in its Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire branches over the last six months as Hestia partnered with the Bank and local police forces to roll out the scheme.

Safe Spaces was initially developed during the pandemic in response to the rising numbers of domestic abuse victims trapped at home with their abusers. Expanding it to TSB branches will take the total to over 5,600 Safe Spaces nationwide.

Hestia has seen domestic abuse cases surge in the last year and during this latest lockdown there has been a 30 percent increase in demand for support to victims. There has also been a 10 percent increase in downloads of Hestia’s free domestic abuse smartphone app, Bright Sky, compared to the first lockdown. As lockdown restrictions start to ease, the charity is warning that demand could rise further as victims reach out for help after being isolated at home for so long.

All TSB branch colleagues have received specialist training to increase their confidence in responding to disclosures of domestic abuse and will provide victims with access to the Safe Space in their branch.

Victims can use a private room to make telephone calls, speak to a trained staff member and contact the local police force if necessary. The support is available to both TSB customers and members of the public and adheres to current health and safety regulations, ensuring people can still visit safely.

Sue Harper, Head of Domestic Abuse Prevention at Hestia said:

“During the pandemic, self-isolation has given abusers a new method of control over victims making it very difficult for them to get the help they need. As restrictions ease, it’s vital that access to specialist domestic abuse support is readily accessible.

“Businesses have a unique role in breaking the silence around domestic abuse. By providing a Safe Space in their banks, TSB will help us reach many more victims of domestic abuse, ensuring they get the specialist help and advice they need. We hope many more businesses will follow their lead and support this scheme.”

Sara*, a survivor of domestic abuse, told Hestia:  

“Women or men who have been 'forced' to be indoors with an abusive partner or family member really need a 'safe haven' where they can retreat to collect their thoughts and get support. Sometimes getting out of that bubble of abuse, that you are in at home, helps you to realise that help is out there.

“An abuser wouldn't really think that their victim could access help at their local bank or pharmacy so being able to contact a domestic violence helpline in this way will be life changing for many."

The Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, said:

“The last year has been extremely difficult for everyone but even more so for domestic abuse victims who have often been trapped in lockdown for months on end with perpetrators. Getting help has been nigh on impossible for many.

“Some of those survivors were offered a lifeline by the Safe Spaces scheme which meant that victims could access support through thousands of pharmacies all over the country. I am delighted to see that TSB has signed up to this scheme and will now offer victims support in their high street branches.

“Domestic abuse is everyone’s business and I urge more business to offer support and help to domestic abuse victims.”

Carol Anderson, Director of TSB’s Branch Network, said:

“It’s clear during lockdown victims of domestic abuse have had fewer opportunities to seek help safely. For some, going into their local bank will be one of the few connections they have with the wider community and in partnership with Hestia we’ll be there to offer that support when they need it most.”


Notes to editors

To find your nearest Safe Space visit: uksaysnomore.org/safespaces

About Hestia & 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 over 5,600 pharmacies across the UK, including major brands such as Superdrug, Morrisons and Well and local independent pharmacists. Many pharmacy Safe Spaces also now offer the Government’s Ask for ANI codeword as a companion to Safe Spaces.

Hestia’s Safe Spaces initiative was awarded over £652,000 by Postcode Innovation Trust, a grant making trust funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

About People’s Postcode Lottery Recovery Fund

People’s Postcode Lottery Recovery Fund is supported by Postcode Innovation Trust, a grant giving body, funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery to fund charities delivering highly innovative, impactful, and engaging projects across Britain and further afield. The Postcode Recovery Fund has been created to support charities to develop innovative solutions that address the many issues affecting people as society recovers from the effects of the pandemic.