The pandemic presented many new barriers for those experiencing domestic abuse looking to access support, which led to the creation of Safe Spaces. A couple of years on from launch, the scheme has been extended to provide new locations where people can access support.
Although some of the new locations aren’t being trialled in Norfolk yet, we hope that a successful pilot in Jobcentres will see this rolled out across the country.
Accessing Support During Covid
The initiative was introduced in 2020 to provide a safe way for people to access support during the pandemic, particularly if it was not safe for them to make a call when at home.
At this time, many people were working at home and calling a support service could have alerted the perpetrator, putting survivors at increased risk for harm.
Ask For ANI (Action Needed Immediately) – the name of the initiative – was introduced in pharmacies across the country and survivors would be led to a private consultation room when “asking for ANI” where they would be given information about support services.
The scheme has since been extended to some banks too, with over 7,000 pharmacies and banks now taking part in the initiative across the country.
Job Centre Pilot
The success and reception that the initiative has received has led to it being piloted in 18 selected Jobcentres across the country – although, sadly, none in Norfolk just yet.
It is hoped that the pilot will prove to be successful, and further locations added, providing additional safe spaces across the country.
Jobcentres are ideal locations for safe spaces as they often have many individual rooms where someone can privately make a call, and staff will be face-to-face with a lot of people across a week, making them well placed to spot signs of domestic abuse too.
The new pilot was introduced as a package of measures recently brought in by the government to tackle domestic abuse, as part of the Domestic Abuse Act.
Finding Nearby Safe Spaces
Whilst there are no Jobcentres in Norfolk currently providing a safe space for those wishing to access domestic abuse support, there are several other locations across the county. The UK Says No More website has a useful tool that enables people to search for spaces by putting in their postcode.
Leeway’s support can be accessed by:
Phone: 0300 561 0077
Live Chat: Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 10am - 12 midday. Tuesday and Thursday: 2pm - 4pm