15 January 2021
From Thursday 14th January, the Government will launch the 'Ask for ANI' domestic abuse codeword scheme to help victims access emergency support in the community.
Victims will be able to use the codeword ANI, which stands for Assistance Needed Immediately, in pharmacies who have signed up to the scheme, to let staff know that they require an emergency police response or help contacting a helpline or specialist support service.
Participating pharmacies in this voluntary scheme will display posters in their window and around the shop to let customers know that they can approach their staff to seek help.
Some pharmacies are already running another pharmacy-based scheme calls Safe Spaces. These pharmacies will display jointly branded materials like this:
When a victim uses the codeword ANI 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.
This may be the only opportunity for a victim to contact the police and get immediate help, but 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.