Due to the COVID restrictions, victims of domestic abuse may think they are not allowed to leave the home to access help. In a recent announcement, Boris Johnson made it clear that victims can leave their homes to flee abuse.

During the coronavirus lockdown, a new UK-wide scheme enables people at risk of domestic abuse to be able to seek help discreetly by giving a code word to pharmacists.

If someone asks for “ANI” at one of the participating pharmacies, they will be given the chance to go to a private space to talk, to see if they need help from police or other services such as domestic abuse helplines. The name is an acronym for “action needed immediately”.

Abuse charities have expressed significant concern about the impact of domestic abuse during the lockdown, when women, children, and others are denied regular contact with others.

Pharmacies have been chosen as the outlet for the plan because they have staff trained to support people and are also classed as essential retail, meaning they remain open.

Ask for ANI

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Essex Compass

Victim Support

Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse (CARA)