Domestic abuse and retailers. In this blog FLiP associate Vanessa Asante discusses how the retail industry is tackling domestic abuse during lockdown.
Peter Andrews of the British Retail Consortium has recently announced that the organisation is “working with the Home Office and police to explore the feasibility of ways that the retail industry can help tackle domestic abuse during lockdown. A range of options are being considered that could be applied both in store and online.”
A number of creative solutions to help victims of domestic abuse have been discussed and include:
- Developing an online button which victims could use to contact support agencies while ordering their shopping or takeaways from firms like Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat. This would ensure that victims can look as though they were ordering their groceries while at the same time making online contact with a domestic abuse helpline without raising suspicions at home.
- Setting up a system similar to that adopted in France where staff in supermarkets and pharmacies would be trained to be able to respond to a plea for help from a victim of domestic abuse. They would be trained to respond to a code word from the victim, such as “ask Ann” [Action Needed Now]. They can then be given help to contact the police or a refuge or can be taken to a safe area in the shop.
In the wake of the recent news that the rate of suspected domestic abuse killings has tripled during lockdown, Dame Vera Baird, Victims Commissioner for England and Wales has said “the expected increase in domestic abuse meant the Government must adapt by providing a “system of rescue” in the places where victims will frequent during the Covid-19 outbreak,” such as parks, supermarkets and pharmacies.
Anna Edmundson, Head of Policy at the NSPCC went on to say “simple guidance should be given to everyone who continues to have contact with families – including delivery drivers, postal workers and retail staff – about what to look out for and how to report any concerns they may have.”
Whilst the first port of call in an emergency situation should still be the police, at Family Law in Partnership our specialist family lawyers are able to offer support and advice if you are faced with domestic abuse. Find more about our expertise here.