Domestic abuse survivors will be able to use 'safe spaces' and seek support inside South Tyneside TSB branch
Domestic abuse survivors will be able to access “safe spaces” in nearly 300 TSB branches where they will receive specialist support.
Among them is Jarrow’s branch in Ellison Street, its bank in Athenaeum Street, Sunderland, and Northumberland Street and West Road in Newcastle.
TSB said the initiative will enable more people to find help on their high street, particularly as lockdown restrictions ease.
The scheme has been rolled out following three pilots in branches over the past six months.
Domestic abuse prevention charity Hestia – which has seen a rise in abuse cases in the last year – partnered with the bank and police to roll out the scheme.
The scheme was developed during the coronavirus pandemic in response to people suffering domestic abuse being trapped at home with their abusers.
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.”
TSB branch staff have received specialist training to increase their confidence in responding to disclosures of domestic abuse and will provide victims with access to a safe space.
Victims can use a private room to make telephone calls, speak to trained staff and contact police if necessary.
The support is available to both TSB customers and non-customers and adheres to current health and safety regulations, ensuring people can still visit safely, the bank said.
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.”
People can find safe spaces located in various businesses at uksaysnomore.org/safespaces.
Hestia’s safe spaces initiative was awarded over £652,000 by Postcode Innovation Trust, a grant-making trust funded by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.
The Domestic Abuse Commissioner Nicole Jacobs, said: “I am delighted to see that TSB has signed up to this scheme and will now offer victims support in their high street branches.”