Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News

Police backing for scheme to help domestic abuse victims


CHESHIRE Police is pleased to be supporting a new government scheme to enable victims of domestic abuse to access support from thousands of pharmacies across the UK.

The Ask for ANI (Assistance Needed Immediatel­y) scheme allows those at risk of or suffering from abuse to discreetly signal that they need help and access support.

By asking for ANI, a trained pharmacy worker will offer a private space where they can understand if the victim needs to speak to police or would like help to access support services such as a national or local domestic abuse helpline.

As an essential retailer based on high streets, and with specifical­ly trained staff, pharmacies can provide a safe space for victims to sound an alarm if they are isolated at home with their abuser and unable to get help in another way.

The scheme is initially available through the 2,300 Boots stores across the UK as well as 255 independen­t pharmacies. There is an ongoing sign-up process open to all pharmacies.

Participat­ing pharmacies will display promotiona­l materials and staff will know what to do should a customer use the codeword.

Other domestic abuse initiative­s carried out by Cheshire Police and partners since the covid pandemic began are You Are Not Alone, working with supermarke­ts and other businesses across the county.

Similar to Ask for ANI, victims might find themselves away from their abuser while shopping and can ask staff for a safe place to call police or visit www.openthedoo­ to find domestic abuse agencies in their area.

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