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Ask for ANI – help for domestic abuse victims in the South Hams

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Ask for ANI – help for domestic abuse victims in the South Hams

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Victims can discreetly signal for help from the safety of participating pharmacies - there are five in the South Hams.

Did you know that victims of domestic abuse can discreetly signal for help from the safety of a pharmacy which is participating in the Ask for ANI scheme? ANI stands for Action Needed Immediately.

Victims use the codeword ANI in participating pharmacies, including all Boots stores and some independent pharmacies in Devon and Cornwall to let staff know that they require an emergency police response or help with contacting a helpline or specialist support service.

We checked the list and there are five participating Boots pharmacies in the South Hams - 

  • Prince Of Wales Rd, Kingsbridge, TQ7 1DX
  • 25-26 Fore St, Salcombe, TQ8 8ET
  • 43987 The Quay, Dartmouth, TQ6 9PS
  • Leatside Health Centre, Totnes, TQ9 5JA
  • 3 Erme Ter, Ivybridge, PL21 0AL

Pharmacies which are taking part display posters with a distinctive hand symbol to let customers know that they can approach their staff to seek help.

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.

Detective Superintendent Ben Beckerleg said: “Devon and Cornwall Police continues to work to ensure that its approach to investigating domestic abuse is victim focused, ensuring that the best possible outcomes are achieved whilst supporting the victim through the criminal justice process.

“Anyone who is affected by domestic abuse in any form can have the confidence to report it directly to the police or, if that is not the best route for victims, through schemes like Ask For ANI or one of our partner agencies who can support them.”  

Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez, said: "Any opportunity to seek help as a victim of domestic abuse is welcomed. This in-pharmacy scheme helps victims get the vital help they need to escape a life of violence.

"Too often victims - predominantly women, but sometimes men - suffer in silence through worry about their own safety and that of their children. Many don’t want to report it to the police, sometimes because they don’t want to get their partner into trouble or because this can escalate things at home. It’s therefore good that Ask for ANI is a fully confidential service. I’m pleased that so many pharmacies are now taking part since its launch in 2021.

“Tackling serious violence is one of my police and crime plan priorities and that means helping people where, when and how they need it if we’re to make Devon & Cornwall safer for the long term”.

You can find out which pharmacies in your area are participating in Ask For ANI and more about the  service on the Dorset Police website. Here you will also find details of how pharmacies can sign up to Ask For ANI.

The scheme was developed by the Home Office with the help of partners including the domestic abuse sector, pharmacy associations and the police.

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