Boots Ireland has launched a Safe Space initiative, in partnership with Safe Ireland, for women experiencing domestic violence.
The women can go into their local Boots store and access a Safe Space in a pharmacy consultation room.
There, they can contact one of the 39 frontline specialist domestic abuse services across the country and access free, confidential support and advice.
As self-isolation and social distancing become the new norm, Safe Ireland is concerned about the long-term impact of the reconfiguration of homes and family life.
Its co-CEO Mary McDermott said: “Those in abusive relationships and family homes are now in increasingly restricted conditions; they need to know that their community will support them and that there are specialist services available regionally and locally.”
According to An Garda Síochána, domestic violence reports have increased by up to 30% in some areas.
Safe Ireland frontline services provide a range of supports to approximately 12,500 women and 3,000 children across Ireland.
In addition, there are on average 50,000 calls to helplines each year.
However, since the beginning of lockdown, some services in parts of the country have seen up to a 60% increase in calls, making access to support even more critical.
Ms McDermott said: “We are aware that women contained with their abusers through the Covid-19 crisis will not have the space or freedom to call for the support they need from their homes.
"The Boots Safe Spaces provide a much-needed and welcome community-based location for people to reach out safely for vital professional advice and support.”