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“Can I speak to ANI, please?”

Boots UK’s pharmacies offer a lifeline to victims of domestic abuse through an innovative new codeword scheme.

Pharmacy notice for domestic abuse help

A trip to an essential service, such as a pharmacy, can provide a surreptitious way for victims of domestic abuse to sound the alarm if they are isolating at home with their perpetrator and unable to seek help. That’s why the British Government has teamed up with Boots UK and independent pharmacies to launch a domestic abuse codeword during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Accessible in all 2,300 Boots pharmacies, the Ask for ANI scheme allows those at risk or suffering from abuse to discreetly signal that they need help and access to support. A trained member of the pharmacy team will then offer a private space where they can ascertain if the victim needs to speak to the police or would like help accessing support services, such as national or local domestic abuse helplines. 

To help support the most vulnerable, the codeword scheme will be promoted using discreet social media adverts and paid search. Pharmacies will also be provided with promotional material to display in store to signal to victims that they are participating. Health professionals, social workers and Job Centers will also be asked to promote the scheme, alongside police, local authorities and specialist support services for victims.  

The codeword scheme will complement the domestic abuse charity Hestia’s UK SAYS NO MORE Safe Spaces initiative, by enabling pharmacy staff to offer immediate and emergency assistance.

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