Businesses and community organisations are being asked to consider signing up to Central Bedfordshire Council’s Safe Space scheme, to help people experiencing domestic abuse.
A Safe Space is a designated area within a building that displays information about local and national support services. Anyone experiencing domestic abuse can use the area and be safe to make a confidential call or use the internet to get help.
Domestic abuse is not limited to physical violence. The current definition also includes emotional and psychological abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, stalking and harassment, coercive and controlling behaviours, forced marriage, ‘honour’ based abuse, and female genital mutilation and other harmful practices.
Anyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, circumstances, background or culture, can be a victim of domestic abuse. Data from the Office for National Statistics* suggests that approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men (over the age of 16 years old) experiences domestic abuse at some stage in their lives.
Cllr Sue Clark, Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said: “Everyone deserves to live a life free from fear and abuse. We know that reaching out for help can seem daunting for victims, so making it as easy as possible is incredibly important. The Safe Spaces scheme allows people experiencing domestic abuse to access support services in confidence.
“Any businesses or community organisations who can host a Safe Space will be providing a really important service for victims. Staff don’t need to be experts in domestic abuse; just displaying information about support services and providing a safe environment for someone affected by domestic abuse could make a big difference to people in your community.”
The Council’s domestic abuse team can support organisations to become a Safe Space. If you’d like to join the scheme, or would like to find out more, please email BDAP@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.
The Bedfordshire Against Domestic Abuse Partnership (BDAP) has published a directory of businesses who are part of the Safe Spaces scheme, so victims know where they can go for support. More information, as well as information about support, is available on the BDAP website: www.bedsdv.org.uk.