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.
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.”
Some people may be feeling trapped as they self-isolate with an abuser, and it can be difficult or even unsafe to look for information about the help that is available while in the home environment. This scheme gives them an opportunity to explore the possibilities of becoming free from abuse, without the risk of causing them extra harm.
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.
Below is a list of just some of the national and regional services available.