Online Safe Spaces
What is the Online Safe Spaces (OSS)?
- OSS is a discrete portal / pop-up window, which can be installed as a banner on to any website.
- It provides expert support to persons who suffer or are at risk of domestic abuse.
- The portal / pop-up has been incorporated in a wide range of popular sites (including many companies’ internal/staff websites).
- Critically, the service doesn’t show in the internet user’s history and can be quickly open and closed to reduce the risk of notifying abusers.
- For a live example of OSS, go to the bottom of the Hawkrose website.
What does the OSS portal offer?
The portal has various sections – each of which are intended to meet specific needs:
- Call the police – provides advice on how to safely engage the emergency services for people who are facing the immediate threat of domestic abuse/violence. This includes a guidance on the ‘55’ feature that discretely notifies the 999 operator of abuse and ensure the police are called for immediate help.
- Am I at risk? – this is a questionnaire that helps people understand their status and risk. This has proven to be an important feature as many people begun suffering, or became aware of their status, during the pandemic period.
- Local Support Services – the user enters their postcode, and this function generates details of local domestic abuse support including refuges.
- National Support Lines – Information for national DA Helpline numbers that can provide over the phone support. It is important to note that the intention of OSS was to be a supplement, not a replacement, to existing support services
- Useful Links – a list of other services that may be able to support.
- Internal OSS resources (not shown above) – as noted above many companies realised the value of linking to the portal / pop-up on their own internal / staff websites. This link provided access to internal resources.
How has OSS been used since launch?
Since launch in September 2021:
- OSS has been installed on c.50 websites
- OSS has been used: 731,142 times
- Example monthly usage figures (Jan 2022):
- Last 30 days = 70,495 times
- Average per day = 2,349 times
- Used 1.6 times every minute