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The Home Secretary acknowledges the Ask for ANI abuse codeword initiative by visiting Boots pharmacy.


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The Home Secretary acknowledges the Ask for ANI abuse codeword initiative by visiting Boots pharmacy.



Suella Braverman, the home secretary, toured a Boots pharmacy in Warrington to talk to the pharmacy staff about the Ask for ANI domestic abuse codeword programme. She did so in recognition of the program’s crucial role in the community in providing safety for those affected by domestic violence.


All of Boots’ 2,200 pharmacies in the UK offer the Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) programme, which was launched by the Home Office in 2021 and is now a component of the charity Hestia’s UK Says No More campaign. Through this programme, Boots team members have assisted thousands of people.


According to Ms. Braverman, the programme will now be extended to other locations in communities across the UK, such as employment centres, due to the program’s success in neighbourhood pharmacies like Boots. The action is a crucial component of government initiatives to punish domestic offenders.


Ms. Braverman spoke with Boots employees at the Warrington location, including Pharmacist Yi Ker, who has directly assisted patients and clients who have requested “ANI” or a safe space in the store.


The pharmacy team is informed that a customer or patient is a victim of domestic abuse and requires assistance when they communicate with Boots team members using the codeword. They are then covertly led to a secure area inside the pharmacy where they can make use of the tools at their disposal to get assistance and guidance, make a call to the National Abuse Helpline, the police, or a relative.


In order to address the significance of the programme, Ms. Braverman also met with Marc Donovan, Director of Healthcare Development and Public Affairs at Boots UK, and Patrick Ryan, CEO of Hestia.


Boots pharmacies have long been a trusted source of support, assistance, and guidance for residents of their neighbourhood high streets, according to Marc. We take pride in the fact that we have trained more than 15,000 pharmacy team members to recognise when a vulnerable person asks to talk with “ANI” and to provide any discreet support they may require.


“Boots pharmacies have given thousands of domestic abuse survivors with a safe space and access to support,” said Hestia, who also partnered with the Home Office on this significant project.




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