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NatWest will offer safe spaces to abuse survivors

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NatWest will offer safe spaces to abuse survivors

NatWest will offer safe spaces in over 360 bank branches across the UK to people experiencing economic and domestic abuse.

The announcement was made during UK Says No More Week (March 3 to 9 2024), which raises awareness about domestic abuse and sexual violence, and also coincides with International Women’s Day (March 8).

Safe spaces, launched by charity Hestia as part of the campaign, are designated locations which anyone experiencing economic and domestic abuse can use.

The safe spaces will be available in NatWest-branded branches, as well as those belonging to Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank, which are part of the same group.

Upon asking a member of staff to use a space, people will be able to use a private room to help them deal with the issue. They can have access to a phone if they need one, and the chance to discreetly contact family, friends or specialist support.

Specialist training on safe spaces and domestic abuse awareness has been carried out by employees across NatWest branches, the bank said.

Raghu Narula, MD of customer engagement and distribution, retail banking at NatWest Group said: “We know that people from all walks of life can experience economic and domestic abuse.

“As a bank it’s really important to be playing a part in helping not only our own customers, but people within our communities who need help by providing a safe space where they can go and access support safely.”

Patrick Ryan, chief executive at Hestia, said: “Having a safe place to seek support is vital for victims of domestic abuse. One in five people in England and Wales will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.

“By bringing our safe spaces to everyday places like banks and pharmacies, it means that anyone experiencing domestic abuse has the chance to access specialist help and advice, or to call a loved one.”

Other big high street names have made similar announcements.

In January, Nationwide Building Society said that it will offer safe spaces to people experiencing domestic abuse at more than 400 branches across the UK.

HSBC UK, which already operates safe spaces, recently reported that the bank recorded an increase in their use during the winter months.

The bank joined Hestia’s safe spaces scheme in April 2022.

HSBC UK has also previously said it experiences an average of two customer calls per day mentioning domestic or financial abuse.

TSB joined the scheme in May 2021 and it also offers an emergency flee fund, making a payment of between £50 to £500, depending on individual needs, to support domestic abuse survivors.

People can find their nearest safe space at uksaysnomore.org/safespaces.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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