What is Ask for ANI?
Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) is a codeword scheme developed by the Home Office to provide a discreet way for victims of domestic abuse to signal that they need emergency help from the safety of their local pharmacy.
Why has Ask for ANI been developed?
We know that local areas are already doing great work to support victims of domestic abuse who may be more isolated and finding it more difficult to access help and support as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Local areas have worked quickly and innovatively to provide awareness-raising campaigns and initiatives that are already providing vital help to those at risk from domestic abuse.
The ‘Ask for ANI’ scheme is intended to work alongside and build on existing work and provide an additional tool that can be used to help the most vulnerable victims access emergency support in the community.
The scheme has been developed with the help of partners including the domestic abuse sector, pharmacy associations and the police and is being rolled out across the UK from January 2021.
How does the scheme work?
Victims of domestic abuse will be able to use the codeword ANI in participating pharmacies (including all Boots stores and participating independent 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 pharmacy to let customers know that they can approach their staff to seek help. Any information shared will be treated confidentially.
When a victim uses the codeword or asks for help, the member of staff will offer to accompany the individual to the consultation room. They will then check whether the victim 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.
If the victim is not in an emergency situation, the staff member will support the victim to contact a national domestic abuse helpline or local support service. They may also contact the police via 101.
Information about how pharmacies can access interpretation services in included in the training guidance and animation.
Which pharmacies will be participating in Ask for ANI?
The scheme is voluntary so not all pharmacies will be participating in Ask for ANI, however participating pharmacies will display posters like this image below to show that they are operating the scheme: