Ask for ANI


The ‘Ask for ANI’ scheme has been developed by the Home Office to provide a simple and discreet way for victims of domestic abuse to signal to pharmacy staff that they need help accessing support from the police or other domestic abuse support services.

Pharmacies are considered suitable settings for the scheme because they are used by people from all walks of life on a daily basis.

What is Ask for ANI?

During the COVID-19 pandemic many victims of domestic abuse have found themselves more isolated and may find it more difficult to access help and support.

Victims will be able to use the codeword ANI (Assistance Needed Immediately) in pharmacies to let staff know that they require an emergency police response or help contacting a helpline or specialist support service. Participating pharmacies will display posters in their window and around the shop to let customers know that they can approach their staff to seek help.

How does it work?

When a victim uses the codeword or asks for help, the member of staff will ask the victim to accompany them to the consultation room. They will then check whether the victim is in danger and wants the police to be called. If so, the staff member will offer the use of a phone to dial 999 or make the call on the victim’s behalf.

In some cases the victim may not need emergency help and the staff member will assist them to contact a national domestic abuse helpline or local support service. They may also contact the police via 101.

Getting involved – actions for contractors

Pharmacy teams who are already participating in the scheme in the following localities are encouraged to email the below contacts to help refine and improve the scheme further.

Manchester – Leanne.conroy@manchester.gov.uk

Bury – g.lane@bury.gov.uk

Rochdale –farhana.chowdhury2@nhs.net

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Home Office with any questions at: AskforANI@homeoffice.gov.uk