With 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men experiencing domestic abuse in their lifetime, the odds that you or someone you know have experienced domestic abuse are overwhelming. What’s more, the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the risk and likelihood of abuse occurring, with movement restrictions implemented to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus making violence in homes more frequent, more severe and more dangerous. Which is why Collinson have decided to take action.
This week we launched our own online Safe Space, providing a portal of information and resources on our website for people experiencing domestic abuse, which can be accessed by clicking the ‘Safe Spaces’ logo at the bottom of our COVID-19 testing site. The discreet portal opens a pop-up window that provides links to surveys to help identify abusive behaviour, information on when to dial 999, in addition to links to local support services, national helplines, and other useful resources. The Safe Spaces webpage does not appear in internet browsing history and has a quick exit function to ensure the safety of the user.
With lockdown easing in the UK and the number of individuals and families looking to travel likely to increase, more people will need to engage with travel testing providers in order to meet departure and arrival testing requirements. As the UK’s leading testing provider, we are using this platform to raise awareness and signpost people towards services that could save lives.
In May, we will also begin signposting in our airport lounges, starting with our Airport Dimensions lounges Club Aspire in the UK, and we’re also exploring creating physical Safe Spaces in our lounge network.
Online Safe Spaces are currently available on other national websites including Royal Mail, Post Office, Thames Water and Network Rail. Collinson’s online Safe Space was developed in collaboration with crisis charity Hestia, in alignment with the 'UK SAYS NO MORE' campaign, which also provides physical Safe Spaces in pharmacies including Boots, Superdrug, and Morrisons.
Domestic abuse is a complex issue, however the Safe Spaces programme gives companies something tangible they can do to help raise awareness and create an environment that makes finding support easier for victims. We strongly encourage other organisations to take the same step by adding the online Safe Spaces widget to your website, which is free to install and enables those needing help to access support discreetly without placing themselves at further risk.
Sue Harper, Head of Domestic Abuse Prevention at Hestia, said, “Businesses have a unique role to play in breaking the silence around domestic abuse and ensuring victims can access the help and support they need. Lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19 have provided an opportunity for businesses to step up their response to domestic abuse for their staff and customers through digital platforms. With the launch of online Safe Spaces, we are delighted to work with Collinson to provide an online Safe Space and provide a vital lifeline to victims of domestic abuse.”
Collinson’s online Safe Space is the most recent addition to our commitment to tackle domestic abuse. In November 2020, we joined forces with Vodafone and Goldman Sachs in support of the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse, joining their Beacon programme and campaign against domestic abuse.
Our commitments include:
- Speaking out to help tackle the stigma that stops a lot of people who experience domestic abuse from seeking help
- Introduction of a domestic abuse policy which outlines how we will support victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse
- Working with Hestia to train domestic abuse advisors (our Beacons) across Collinson and have signposts to external support services
- Encouraging our people and partners to get involved by downloading the BrightSky App so that we can all be aware of the support services available.