Ask for ANI domestic abuse codeword scheme

Published on: 1st February 2022 | Updated on: 23rd August 2023



Support victims of domestic abuse in your local community by signing up to the Ask for ANI codeword scheme

Community Pharmacy Wales have been asked by the Home Office  to let community pharmacies in Wales know about the implementation of a new codeword scheme, to enable victims of domestic abuse to access support from the safety of their local pharmacy.

Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) 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. There is never an excuse for domestic abuse, no matter what the circumstances are.

What is required if someone uses the codeword?

The scheme has been designed to enable pharmacy staff to respond to the use of the codeword using a simple and straightforward process:

  1. Offer to accompany the person to the consultation room or private space.
  2. Ask if they are in danger or in need of immediate help and want the police to be called.
    1. If yes, call 999 and inform the call handler that a codeword ‘ANI’ response is required. They will assess the situation and dispatch help.
    2. If no, share helpline details and offer a private space and a phone for the person to make this call themselves.

Free training and implementation guidance will be provided to equip staff with more detailed step-by-step instructions. Marketing materials will also be provided to enable pharmacies to signal that they are taking part in the scheme and staff are prepared to respond to the use of the codeword.

This scheme also links with the Welsh Government  “Home shouldn’t be a place of fear campaign” information available here.

Ask for ANI, the Home Shouldn’t be a place of fear and Safe Spaces campaigns can all  work together.