Boots and Superdrug are among pharmacies providing 'safe spaces' for victims of domestic abuse.
The scheme, run by charity Hestia and supported by the People's Postcode Lottery, started in lockdown.
Having 'saved lives' at a time when domestic abuse was escalating, the scheme is being expanded to chemists across the city region.
It means those experiencing violence, coercion, manipulation or threatening environments can ask at a participating pharmacy for the 'Safe Space', and then access a consultation room where they will be helped to access services in confidence.
Branches of Boots, Superdrug, Well Pharmacy and independent pharmacies across the city-region are taking part in the scheme.
A service user and victim of domestic abuse, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "A Safe Space has saved my life. I had been experiencing what I now know to be coercive control for five years of a 10 year relationship.
"During lockdown and shielding due to my complex medical needs, the abuse escalated to aggression and violence, leading to a fear for my life.
"I knew that I needed to get out of the house at the very, least but had nowhere to go. My medical conditions mean I take around 23 medications, and as my village pharmacy couldn’t source one of my medications I turned to the Boots online ordering system, and on the bottom of the site I saw a reference to Safe Spaces. Reading on, I realised that this was exactly what I needed to access - urgently."
The scheme started in May 2020, and now Hestia is expanding it in response to rising levels of domestic abuse during the pandemic, with the help of £655,000 of new funding.
The pandemic is known to have had a devastating impact on victims of domestic abuse, with the number of cases rocketing and support networks essentially cut off overnight.
Since lockdown on November 5, 2020, Hestia said it has seen a 30 per cent increase in demand for its support.
The victim said they personally had no way of getting to a high street pharmacy during lockdown, but spotted independent pharmacies nearby were also offering the Safe Space support.
They added: "Scrolling down through the list with my heart in my mouth, I found it! My local village pharmacy was on the list. I could now make a plan and on the first day that us shielders could have an outdoor exercise time, after 10 weeks indoors, I raced to the pharmacy and asked to use their Safe Space.
"The consultation room became a safe and sound part of my lockdown from hell. I called the local domestic abuse and violence partnership who immediately worked out the best plans to keep me safe in the first instance.
"I phoned my mum and sister for the first time in months (everything I did at home was monitored), I phoned a good friend and a solicitor.
"Over the weeks I used the Safe Space, I developed a plan to get the abuser out of my home. Last week I got him out of my home, had the locks changed, and boxed all his things. I am beginning to feel safe in my home again, but without the Safe Space, things could have be very different and far, far worse.
"I am alive, safe and no longer living with my abuser."
People living with domestic abuse can now access more than 5,300 Safe Spaces in pharmacies nationwide as well as online Safe Spaces.
A total of 32,000 staff in participating organisations are also being trained in domestic abuse responses so victims can access the help they need.
Sue Harper, head of domestic abuse prevention at Hestia, said: "Right now there are victims of domestic abuse that don’t know where to go or are trapped at home with their abuser. Safe Spaces was born in the midst of lockdown as a bridge for victims to specialist support, but it has the potential to support thousands more victims to safety in the future.
"We can now expand this vital initiative, enabling communities to play a critical role in tackling domestic abuse.”
A spokesperson for Superdrug said: " We are pleased to share that we have worked with Hestia’s scheme to roll out Safe Spaces across all our 200 pharmacies. Our dedicated pharmacy teams are in a prime position to help people during this incredibly difficult time for them. On accessing a safe space, people are provided with information on how to gain the support that they need.
"The service has been very positively received and has been used in our pharmacies in the Greater Manchester area."
Laura Chow, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery said: “Hestia’s Safe Spaces initiative is a great example of a charity that is addressing the demand which has escalated during the pandemic. Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the charity received the funds to create additional safe spaces for those needing help.
"More support will be available in our communities and on our high streets, bringing benefits well beyond the pandemic, to those who need a safe space.”
To find out where your nearest Safe Space is, click here (https://uksaysnomore.org/safespaces/).