Royal Pharmaceutical Society

A pharmacy safe space saved my life

By a survivor of domestic abuse

A safe space in a pharmacy has saved my life.

I had been experiencing (what I now know to be) coercive control for the past 5 years of a 10 year relationship. During lockdown and shielding, due to my complex medical needs, the abuse escalated to aggression and violence, leading me to fear for my life.

I knew that I needed to get out of the house at the very least, but had nowhere to go.

My medical conditions mean I take 23 medications, and as ‘luck would have it’ my village pharmacy couldn’t source one of them. I turned to Boots online and on the bottom of the site I saw a reference to Safe Spaces. Reading on, I realised that this was exactly what I needed to get to.

Seeing the big chains of pharmacies opening their consulting rooms to us folk experiencing domestic abuse was a relief, but impossible for me to get to.

I then saw that 60 independent pharmacies were also offering Safe Spaces. Scrolling down through the list with my heart in my mouth, I found it! My local village pharmacy was on the list. I could now make a plan. On the first day that us shielders could have outdoor exercise time, I went straight to the pharmacy and asked to use their Safe Space.

The consultation room became the safe and sound part of my lockdown from hell. I called the local domestic abuse and violence partnership who immediately worked out the best plans to keep me safe. I phoned my mum and sister for the first time in months (everything I did at home was monitored), I phoned a good friend and a solicitor.

Over the weeks I used the Safe Space, I developed a plan to get the abuser out of my home. I had the locks changed, boxed all his things and now he’s gone.

I am beginning to feel safe in my home again, but without the Safe Space, things could have be very different and far, far worse. Thank you from the bottom of my heart if you have a safe space in your pharmacy.

I am alive, safe and no longer living with my abuser because of one.

Your pharmacy can become a safe space today.

Simply follow the steps on uksaysnomore.org/safespaces and email [email protected] to notify them you’ve become a Safe Space.

We want to encourage voices that express the diversity of lived experiences in the profession as part of our inclusion and diversity work. If you’d like to share your story, contact [email protected] or get involved through our ABCD group.

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