Victims of domestic abuse can signal for help from the safety of a pharmacy which is participating in the Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) scheme.
Victims can 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 with contacting a helpline or specialist support service.
Pharmacies which are taking part will display posters with a distinctive hand symbol 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 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.
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.
If you need help, go to the location, approach a member of staff and Ask for ANI (‘Please can I speak to ANI’) or ask to use a Safe Space (‘Do you have a Safe Space available?’).
The scheme was developed by the Home Office with the help of partners including the domestic abuse sector, pharmacy associations and the police. It was launched across the UK in 2021 and more than 5,000 pharmacies, including Boots, Lloyds and community pharmacies, are now enrolled.
Ask for ANI is delivered in partnership with Safe Spaces, a safe and confidential room where victims can take some time to reflect, access information on specialist support services or call friends or family. Safe Spaces are available anywhere Ask for ANI is offered.
How your pharmacy can join Ask for Ani
Pharmacies that have not yet joined up can find out more about Ask for ANI, and sign up for the scheme: