New scheme provides emergency help for people experiencing domestic abuse

Ask for ANI

Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) has been set up by the Home Office to provide a discreet way for people living with domestic abuse across the UK to signal that they need emergency help from the safety of their local pharmacy.

Councillor Fiona O’Donnell says:

‘I welcome the introduction of Ask for ANI.

‘Covid 19 has had a lot of effects on the way we live but one of the most worrying is its impact on people living with domestic abuse. If you are afraid of your partner (or ex-partner), particularly now when people are stuck together all the time, it can be extraordinarily difficult and dangerous making a call or text or using your computer or tablet to ask for help when your abuser is literally always looking over your shoulder.

‘Sometimes, the only opportunity to get that help is when you are outside of the house. And, with lots of official buildings closed to the public, the question is where do you go?

‘Well now you can use the Ask for ANI scheme at participating pharmacies to let staff know that that you need an emergency police response or help contacting a helpline or specialist support service. You’ll know it’s a participating pharmacy by the Ask for ANI poster in the window. Some pharmacies will also be offering Safe Places – a room in the pharmacy where you can access information about domestic abuse services that can help. Again, if they are a Safe Spaces pharmacy, they’ll have a Safe Spaces poster in their window. It gives you a safe way of accessing help without attracting unwanted attention.

‘Not all pharmacies are participating, but if you’re a local pharmacy and would like to provide this vital service, you can sign up online. I would urge you to think about it – you’re providing a lifeline for people who have nowhere else that they can safely turn.

‘Domestic abuse is everybody’s business. This is a really good scheme and we can all help by spreading the word.’

Where to go

You can access the Ask for ANI service at any Boots in the UK. Locally, these would be Boots in Haddington, Musselburgh and North Berwick (East Lothian), and in Dalkeith (Midlothian).

Information for local pharmacies wanting to sign up to Ask for ANI

  • Pharmacies can sign up to Ask for ANI by completing this online form. Once registered, pharmacies will be sent a link to posters and training materials which include an animated video explaining how the scheme works, Ask for ANI implementation guidance and introductory guidance on domestic abuse.
  • Once registered, pharmacies will be sent a link to posters and training materials which include an animated video explaining how the scheme works, Ask for ANI implementation guidance and introductory guidance on domestic abuse.

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