Nationwide, the UK's largest branch network, has launched an impactful initiative to combat domestic abuse by introducing over 400 Safe Spaces across its branches. This collaboration with domestic abuse charity Hestia aligns with the UK SAYS NO MORE campaign, providing designated locations within Nationwide branches to assist those experiencing domestic abuse.
A recent poll conducted by Nationwide reveals that almost half of the population (48%) has experienced or knows someone affected by domestic abuse, with 24% having been victims themselves. Recognizing financial abuse as a significant factor (26% of respondents), Nationwide has taken a comprehensive approach to address this issue.
Safe Spaces offer individuals experiencing domestic abuse a discreet and supportive environment within Nationwide branches. Trained staff are available to assist with accessing resources, making discreet phone calls, and connecting with support networks.
Financial abuse, identified by 26% of respondents, manifested in various ways:
• 53% reported controlled access to money.
• 36% faced scrutiny of spending and hidden funds.
• 34% were pressured into co-signing loans or signing over power of attorney.
Encouragingly, 47% of the population expressed a willingness to speak to dedicated branch staff about domestic abuse issues. All Nationwide branch colleagues have undergone specialized training to recognize signs of domestic abuse and offer support, including financial management assistance and access to a dedicated support team.
Mandy Beech, Director of Retail Services at Nationwide, emphasized the importance of providing Safe Spaces, stating, "We are helping make a difference by giving people somewhere to go and access support safely."
Patrick Ryan, Chief Executive of Hestia, expressed delight in partnering with Nationwide and stressed the importance of having safe spaces in everyday places. He noted that by working together, they aim to ensure every survivor of domestic abuse has a place to turn to for support.