New scheme launched to support domestic abuse victims

New scheme launched to support domestic abuse victims

January 14, 2021

The Home Office is implementing a new scheme to help victims of domestic abuse access support safely, and is encouraging community pharmacy teams to get involved.

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

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, ability, socio-economic status, sexuality or background. This is why the Home Office considers pharmacies, used by people from all walks of life, as a suitable setting for the Ask for ANI scheme.

Over 2,300 Boots pharmacies have already committed to participate in the scheme, as well as some independent community pharmacies.

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.

Getting involved

Any pharmacies who wish to get involved are asked to complete an online form to confirm their decision to provide the scheme, and to ensure that all staff watch the training animation and read the guidance.

Training and promotional materials are available from: Ask for ANI domestic abuse codeword scheme and Ask for ANI and Safe Spaces schemes.

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Home Office at: AskforANI@homeoffice.gov.uk



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