Could your pharmacy become a safe space?

Concerns have been raised by charities, organisations and helplines about the increased risk to those suffering from domestic abuse or violence during periods of lockdown. 

With access to some services restricted due to the pandemic, community pharmacies offer accessible and local safe spaces for anyone needing support.

We’re encouraging pharmacies to consider getting involved. Here are details of the schemes now available for pharmacies to sign up to and provide vital support:

  • UK SAYS NO MORE is working with pharmacies across the UK to provide Safe Spaces in their consultation rooms for people experiencing domestic abuse.

If you would like to offer a safe space in your pharmacy, you can find out more here.

  • The ‘Ask for ANI’ scheme, which was launched this month, is intended to work alongside and build on existing initiatives to provide an additional tool that can be used to help the most vulnerable victims access emergency support in the community.

The scheme allows those at risk or suffering from abuse to discreetly signal that they need help and to access support. By asking for ANI, a trained pharmacy worker will offer a private space where they can understand if the victim needs to speak to the police or would like help to access support services such as a national or local domestic abuse helplines.

You can find out more here and any pharmacies wishing to sign up can do so here.

  • The Live Fear Free Campaign is in place in Wales to support people who are suffering from or at risk of domestic abuse and sexual violence. The campaign promotes the availability of 24/7 support via a helpline where help is at hand to signpost to local services. This helpline is specific to the Live Fear Free campaign in Wales and is distinct from the National Domestic Abuse helpline which signposts to services in England only.  

Many pharmacies in Wales are already supporting the campaign by displaying posters, sharing campaign images on digital screens in public access areas, and sharing messages on social media. An e-learning module is also available to understand more about identifying the signs of abuse and supporting those people who may need help.  

Dylan Jones of Llanidloes Pharmacy, Llanidloes and Welsh Pharmacy Board Member said:

“As a community pharmacist it is important to know how you can support people who are reaching out for help as a result of experiencing abuse at home. Having been approached by patients concerned about abuse during the pandemic, I have been able to play a role when people are desperately seeking help. I applaud the schemes that are in place across GB but I must stress the importance of becoming familiar with which schemes apply to the pharmacy and the country in which you work”.