More help is on hand for domestic abuse victims in north Worcestershire with special safe places being set up in Stourport and Redditch.

And the fear is that extra support will be needed as abuse cases have rocketed under lockdown.

The move is part of a pilot project being run in the county which will then be rolled out across the country.

TSB Bank will provide special help for abuse victims at four branches across Worcestershire.

As well as Stourport and Redditch, there will also be new Safe Places in their buildings at Worcester and Tenbury Wells.

TSB have linked up with West Mercia Police to provide easier access to help.

The safe places will allow abuse victims to phone a helpline, contact a support service or talk to a friend or family member.

The Safe Spaces scheme is run by charity Hestia, who are worried that domestic abuse is on the rise across the UK and, as England enters a new lockdown, the need for extra support could be even more critical.

Figures from the charity showed a near 40%¹ increase in people trying to access specialist support during the first lockdown and the charity anticipates similar future demand – as three thousand victims sought help between April and September this year.

Domestic abuse includes psychological, physical and financial abuse, all of which can have devastating consequences for the victim.

The TSB pilot across its Worcestershire branches will run for 12 weeks.

Specialist training has been given to a number of TSB employees in the branches who will be available to advise and assist on numerous issues including financial coercion, human trafficking and other criminal activity.

Victims can use a private room to make telephone calls, speak to a trained staff member, and get a referral to the West Mercia police service, with whom TSB is also partnered. The support is available to both TSB customers and members of the general public.

Police say domestic abuse victims experience an average of fifty assaults before seeking help.