Somerset pharmacies open 'safe places' for people experiencing domestic abuse as pandemic continues

The move follows ongoing concerns that people experiencing domestic abuse are finding it much harder to access support during the pandemic. Credit: ITV West Country / PA images

People experiencing domestic abuse in Somerset can get support in local pharmacies as they open 'safe places' for those isolating with abusers.

Pharmacies across the county will make consulting rooms available where people affected can go to get information about the support available.

It follows a similar national scheme which has seen safe places set up in Boots pharmacies across the UK.

Local pharmacies and supermarkets are among the few places people can visit during the current restrictions.

People are still being asked to visit these places individually, to limit the numbers inside.

According to Somerset County Council, this has “generated an ideal opening for anyone who is in an abusive relationship to access help in a safe place away from their abuser.”

Councillor Clare Paul, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Public Health and Wellbeing, said the authority has seen “an increase in calls” to its domestic abuse helpline.

But, she acknowledges, there are still people self-isolating with an abuser who feel it’s too dangerous to make contact with a service in the same house as their abuser.

If you need help, or know someone who does, visit the Somerset Survivors website or call 0800 69 49 999.

Below is a list of just some of the national and regional services available.