Royal Mail Group develops online ‘safe spaces’ portal for domestic abuse victims

2 September 2020, 00:04

Domestic abuse support
Domestic abuse support. Picture: PA

The portal will be launched on external and internal websites across Royal Mail Group.

Royal Mail Group has partnered with a crisis charity to develop an online portal for corporate websites, offering support to victims of domestic abuse.

“Online Safe Spaces” is a discreet portal – which can be installed on both internal and external company websites – providing support, advice and contact information to those at risk of or experience domestic abuse.

The portal opens in a pop-up window, features a quick exit button and leaves no trace in internet history, ensuring that those using the service are safe, according to Royal Mail Group.

It has worked with crisis charity Hestia and the “UK says no more” campaign to develop the tool, which enables victims to view information such as when to dial 999, national helplines and local support groups.

The “UK says no more” campaign provides physical safe spaces in retail premises for victims of domestic abuse, with participants so far including Boots, Superdrug and Morrisons.

The portal will be launched on external and internal websites across Royal Mail Group, including Royal Mail and Parcelforce, from Wednesday, while being offered for free to any corporate organisation.

The initiative was developed by senior legal adviser Charlie Ryan, as part of Royal Mail Group’s entry in the Financial Times “Innovative Lawyers – Global Legal Hackathon Challenge”.

It asked participants to produce the most pioneering solutions to problems in society posed by the coronavirus crisis.

In July, charity Refuge, which runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, said it had received more than 40,000 calls since the start of lockdown.

Sally Ashford, chief HR officer at Royal Mail Group, said: “By placing the link on high traffic websites like Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide, we hope that victims will be able to use the service discreetly if required without placing themselves at further risk.

“We are encouraging all our partners to install the portal on their sites too. We hope that the portal will inspire affected individuals to feel confident enough to seek help”

Lyndsey Dearlove, head of UK says no more at Hestia, said: “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 Royal Mail to provide the first online safe space to provide a vital lifeline to victims of domestic abuse.”

By Press Association

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