Ask For ANI

Category: Divorce, Domestic Violence, Family

The Government yesterday launched a new codeword scheme for victims of domestic abuse. They can now “ask for ANI” at a large number of pharmacies throughout the country. They’ll then be offered confidential help and support. ANI stands for Action Needed Immediately. The new scheme will be initially available through 2,300 Boots stores across the UK. Additionally, 255 independent pharmacies will also be involved from Thursday 14 January 2021.

What’s it about?

When asking for ANI (pronounced “Annie”), the pharmacy will provide a safe space for the person to seek help. The victim can then get support and assistance to alleviate their suffering.

In November 2020, the Office for National Statistics reported a significant increase in demand for domestic abuse victim support services. This included a 65% increase in calls and contacts logged by the National Domestic Abuse Helpline. The startling rise was seen between April and June 2020, compared with the first three months of the year. This coincides with the start of the Coronavirus lockdown. Although this doesn’t categorically prove the number of victims has increased, it does show increased demand for domestic abuse services. The addition of “ask for ANI” will help victims who don’t feel safe phoning a domestic abuse service. It also allows for those who would prefer to speak to someone face to face rather than over the phone. 

What’s the desired result?

It’s hoped that the new service will be another way for domestic abuse victims to access help and support. This scheme is in anticipation of enactment of the Domestic Abuse Bill, which is a landmark decision before Parliament. The Domestic Abuse Bill is currently in the House of Lords Committee Stage. The line by line examination of the Bill is scheduled to begin on 25 January 2021.

About The Domestic Abuse Bill

The Domestic Abuse Bill includes the following landmark provisions:

  • Provide a legal definition of domestic abuse;
  • Establish a Domestic Abuse Commissioner;
  • Provide a new Domestic Abuse Protection Notice and Domestic Abuse Protection Order;
  • Prohibit perpetrators of abuse from cross-examining their victims in Court;
  • Place a duty on Local Authorities to provide support to victims and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation;
  • Bring the case of R v Brown into legislation. This will eradicate any defence of consent where the victim is seriously hurt or killed.

We certainly hope that the “ask for ANI” scheme will assist victims of domestic abuse get the support they need. Moreover, the Domestic Abuse Bill should offer even more help. Once this becomes law, victims of domestic abuse should be better protected both inside and outside of Court.


Get in touch

If you require any support, just let us know. You can call our Family Law team by phone on 01752 827030 or by email at [email protected]. Please be assured that we’re here to help you and to get you the protection you need.