Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Justice, Jim O’Callaghan has welcomed the news that women who are experiencing domestic violence can now go into their local Boots pharmacy and access a ‘Safe Space’.

Deputy O’Callaghan said: “The idea of a ‘Safe Space’ for women experiencing domestic violence in their local boots pharmacy is welcome despite the concerning reports that there has been between a 20% and 30% rise in calls to gardaí concerning domestic violence since the outbreak of COVID-19.

“In this confidential space, women experiencing domestic violence can contact one of the 39 frontline specialist domestic abuse services across the country and access the supports they may need. They can do so in the knowledge that they will be protected from their abuser. The COVID-19 crisis has reduced women’s capacity to reach out for help because more people are working from home and there is no escape from the abuser.

“Some women and children fleeing violence are left with little option but to return to their abuser by virtue of the lack of refuge spaces.

“For anyone experiencing domestic violence, please be assured that help is available. It is important that people are aware of the signs of people who may perhaps be experiencing domestic violence in the home but cannot escape from their abuser or indeed use the phone,” concluded Deputy O’Callaghan.