Ask for ANI’: Domestic Abuse Codeword Scheme



Introducing a new scheme to help victims of domestic abuse, this scheme can be accessed within Pharmacies – ANI (Assistance Needed Immediately)











What is Ask for ANI?

  • During the Covid-19 period many victims of domestic abuse will have found themselves more isolated and may be finding more difficult to access help and support.
  • The Government is launching the ‘Ask for ANI’ domestic abuse codeword scheme to help victims access emergency support in the community.
  • Victims will be able to use the codeword ANI (Assistance Needed Immediately) in 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 shop 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.
  • In some cases the victim may not need emergency help and the staff member will assist them to contact a national domestic abuse helpline or local support service.
  • They may also contact the police via 101.


Which pharmacies will be participating in Ask for ANI?

Participating pharmacies will display posters like this to show that they are operating the scheme:




What do you need to do?

If a pharmacy calls 999 to say that the ANI codeword has been used, police should take the following action in addition to normal procedures:

Call handlers;

  • The use of the codeword ANI on a 999 or 101 call should alert call handlers that help from the police is required by a victim of domestic abuse.
  • Call handlers should request relevant information from the caller, including their location and conduct a THRIVE assessment of the level of response required.
  • A priority response should be the default, unless the assessment suggests that is not appropriate.
  • The call handler should record that an Ask for ANI codeword call has been received
  • Officers should be dispatched to the pharmacy in line with the response.


Officers attending an ANI call;

  • Officers should follow normal procedures and guidelines for responding to a domestic abuse call out, including completion of a DASH risk assessment.
  • If the codeword user has left the pharmacy before police arrive, police should work with the pharmacy staff to assess whether any immediate safeguarding action is needed.
  • The pharmacy will not collect personal information about the victim.

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