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Ulster Bank branches in Armagh, Banbridge and Newry designated as ‘Safe Spaces’ for abuse victims

'As a bank we have a duty to provide support to our own customers and indeed people within our local communities'

Terry Robb, Head of Retail Banking, Ulster Bank

Ulster Bank branches in Armagh, Banbridge and Newry have been designated as Safe Spaces for economic and domestic abuse victims.

They’re among the total of 19 Ulster Bank branches that will act as Safe Hubs for anyone experiencing harm in locations throughout Northern Ireland as part of a wider NatWest campaign during ‘UK says No More Week’.

These Safe Spaces will offer a place for people experiencing economic and domestic abuse to access confidential help, support and guidance.

Safe Spaces, launched by domestic abuse charity Hestia as part of the ‘UK Says No More’ campaign, are designated locations which anyone experiencing economic and domestic abuse can use.

The campaign raises awareness against domestic abuse and sexual violence in the UK and provides open-source tools and resources for individuals and organisations to take action and get involved in making a difference.

Upon asking a member of staff to use a space, people will be given access to a private room to help them deal with the issue. They will be provided with the use of a phone if they need one, and the chance to discreetly contact family, friends, or specialist support.

Specialist training on Safe Spaces and domestic abuse awareness has been carried out by employees across NatWest, Royal Bank and Ulster Bank branches.

Ulster Bank’s parent group, NatWest, recently donated £1 million to The Circle Fund, totalling £2 million in partnership with SafeLives.

The Fund has supported frontline services with crisis intervention, increasing safety and ensuring survivors are supported in the right way, at the right time.

Terry Robb, Head of Retail Banking at Ulster Bank said: “We know that people from all walks of life can experience economic and domestic abuse. As a bank we have a duty to provide support to our own customers and indeed people within our local communities, identify those who need support and offer them a Safe Space where they can go on to access the help and care they need.

“To date we have designated 19 branches in Northern Ireland as Safe Spaces however we hope that as more of our colleagues undergo this specialist training, we can offer this vital service across the wider branch network.

“It’s really important to be playing a part in helping not only our own customers, but people within our communities who need help by providing a Safe Space where they can go and access support safely.”

Patrick Ryan, Chief Executive at Hestia, said: “Having a safe place to seek support is vital for victims of domestic abuse. one-in-five people in England and Wales will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. By bringing our Safe Spaces to everyday places like banks and pharmacies, it means that anyone experiencing domestic abuse has the chance to access specialist help and advice, or to call a loved one.

“It is fantastic to see more Safe Spaces on our high streets – and we are delighted that Ulster Bank has partnered with us to ensure that more victims can safely access support. Staff across over 360 branches have participated in our domestic abuse training, and we hope that other organisations will follow their lead.”

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