Home Office launch of ‘Ask for ANI’ codeword scheme

Home Office launch of ‘Ask for ANI’ codeword scheme

January 25, 2021

Helping victims of domestic abuse: Staff training and promotional resources available.

LLR LPC recommends that all pharmacies participate in this scheme.

The Home Office recently launched the ‘Ask for ANI’ codeword scheme to enable victims of domestic abuse to discreetly request immediate help from the police or other support services from the safety of their local pharmacy.

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, ability, socio-economic status, sexuality or background. This is why pharmacies, used by people from all walks of life, are being invited to volunteer to take part in this important initiative.

What is Ask for ANI?

During the COVID-19 pandemic many victims of domestic abuse have found themselves more isolated and may be finding 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.

As part of the scheme, you will be required to ensure staff are familiar with the training information provided. The training resources include a short video and two guidance documents on adopting the scheme and responding to the codeword.

Given the nationwide publicity (even though the communications will be carefully targeted) it is possible that people will come to your pharmacy for help even if you have not yet registered to take part. Therefore you might wish to avail yourself of the training materials via the following links below.

The codeword scheme will be promoted using discreet social media adverts and paid search. To inform customers that staff are ready to respond, you will also be required to display Ask for ANI posters in your pharmacy.

‘Ask for ANI’ and the existing ‘Safe Spaces’ can work together. If your pharmacy is already running ’Safe Spaces’, please use the dual training resources and co-branded posters available to adopt ‘Ask for ANI’ too:

Action required:

Please confirm whether your pharmacy will participate in the codeword scheme by clicking on the following Home Office Survey link:

If you have any questions, please email the following Home Office address: AskforANI@homeoffice.gov.uk


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