Progress Housing Group’s Chorley and South Ribble Women’s Refuges and Boots in Leyland recently collaborated to protect a young woman from domestic abuse.

The Group’s South Ribble domestic abuse helpline operators received a phone call from a young woman who was in Leyland town centre, terrified that her boyfriend was going to find her.

Operators told the woman to go to Boots on Hough Lane, where staff there provided a pharmacy consultation room for the woman to wait in a safe space whilst a place in a refuge was arranged.

A train ticket to allow the young woman to travel safely to the refuge was subsequently funded by South Ribble Borough Council and the young woman is now receiving the support she needs to escape abuse.

Throughout April and so far during May 2020, Progress Housing Group’s refuge service has seen the number of calls to their 24-hour domestic abuse helpline more than double. Across the UK, the National Domestic Abuse helpline has also seen a 25% increase in calls and online requests for help.

The Group and its women’s refuges have now launched a confidential text service and a new website, www.clarehouselancashire.org.uk, to support people in South Ribble and Chorley who are facing domestic abuse or feeling unsafe at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Progress Housing Group’s Refuge Manager, Liz Stanton said, “A huge thank you to the staff at Boots for helping the young woman last week. We are so pleased to have the additional support of Boots and other chemists where women can go to stay safe from domestic abuse while a refuge place is found for them or whilst we provide further support and advice to help them escape domestic abuse.

“When the lockdown first started, we, along with our partners at Lancashire Refuges (the consortium led by SafeNet), were originally concerned as we saw a drop in calls, not an increase. We believed this to be because people didn’t feel safe to ring because their perpetrator was locked in with them.

“To give women safer options to contact us during the lockdown, we launched a new text service and a website in record time. As the lockdown continues, we’re now seeing a massive spike in calls and texts to our domestic abuse support service as well as visits to our website, where people can also get in touch with us via live chat. Please text or call us. You are not alone.”

If you are concerned about someone who may be at risk of domestic abuse, phone the 24-hour South Ribble Domestic Abuse Helpline in confidence on 01772 435865, email clarehouse@progressgroup.org.uk, or visit the website at www.clarehouselancashire.org.uk.

The new text line service is now available on 07790971237 between 10 am and 4 pm Monday – Friday.

You can also find help and advice if you are concerned about domestic abuse during the coronavirus outbreak on Progress Housing Group’s website here (opens in new window).