Royal Mail: Supporting people at risk of domestic abuse

Royal Mail Group offers ‘Online Safe Spaces’ to support people at risk of experiencing domestic abuse.

Royal Mail Group offers ‘Online Safe Spaces’ to support people at risk of experiencing domestic abuse

In September 2019, Business in the Community (BITC) member Royal Mail Group, launched technology to provide a discrete ‘Online Safe Spaces’. The portal provided support for victims of domestic abuse, enabling them to access help and advice without leaving traces in their internet history.

The portal, which is available by scrolling to the bottom of the Royal Mail website and clicking on the circular ‘Safe Spaces’ logo, incorporates a quick exit tool, and allows victims to access support. The service is also available on Parcelforce World Wide’s website. As well as a questionnaire to help identify abusive behaviour, the portal includes information on national and local helplines and support services.

Due to the isolation and reduced access brought about by COVID-19, there is mounting evidence that incidences of domestic abuse have increased and worsened during the pandemic¹. The portal was developed in collaboration with crisis charity Hestia. The portal forms part of the charity’s ‘UK SAYS NO MORE’ campaign, which provides other online and physical safe spaces through partnerships with some of the UK’s leading retailers, pharmacies, and other businesses. The technology to install the Online Safe Space portal is free to any organisation. A request to install and any other enquiries can be sent to Royal Mail.

Sally Ashford, Chief HR Officer, Royal Mail Group said: “We have developed the ‘Online Safe Spaces’ portal to help victims of domestic abuse access vital support if they need it online. 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.”

Adapting to challenging conditions through innovation

The launch of the ‘Online Safe Spaces’ service continues the commitment shown by Royal Mail Group to supporting mental health and wellbeing. In September 2020, Royal Mail Group were selected as a BITC Responsible Business Champion, in the Bupa Health and Wellbeing Award category. This accolade was achieved through the postal service’s innovative and holistic approach to supporting not only its employees and line managers, but also members of the communities it serves.

In a further demonstration of its commitment to health and wellbeing, Dr Shaun Davis, Global Director Compliance & Sustainability represents Royal Mail Group on BITC’s Wellbeing Leadership Team, which works to position health and wellbeing as strategic boardroom issues with a particular focus on mental health; driving collective action through evidence-based, practical solutions. 

Discussing this support, Louise Aston, BITC Wellbeing Director, said: “Royal Mail Group’s provision of free and secure digital support for people experiencing domestic abuse is hugely vital now that the UK is in a new phase of lockdown restrictions. Building on its commitments to wellbeing, demonstrated by its selection as a 2020 Bupa Health and Wellbeing Responsible Business Champion, and membership of our Wellbeing Leadership Team, this is a valuable example of Royal Mail Group’s willingness to innovate to support people across the UK through the pandemic.”

If your business has supported people during the COVID-19 pandemic, and would like to develop this further, get in touch with our expert team today to discuss how BITC can help you drive lasting change.

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References
¹ Hestia publishes ‘Domestic Abuse in Lockdown’ report, Hestia (October 2020).