Blog Article | 28 January 2021

Home Office launches Ask For ANI scheme for victims of domestic abuse

The Home Office has launched the ‘Ask For ANI’ codeword scheme in Boots and participating independent pharmacies in the UK, increasing the opportunities for victims of domestic abuse to seek support. 

People experiencing domestic abuse can use the codeword ‘ANI’ (Action Needed Immediately), pronounced ‘Annie’, to let staff know that they need an emergency police response or somewhere to contact a support service or helpline. 

UK Says No More has been working alongside the Home Office to create and implement the Ask For Ani scheme, which will work alongside the existing Safe Spaces scheme in Boots and participating independent pharmacies, enabling victims to request emergency help. 

Lyndsey Dearlove, Head of Domestic Abuse Prevention at Hestia and Head of UK Says No More, said: 

“As lockdown measures continue to have an impact on everyday life, we know it is vital for victims of domestic abuse to continue to have access to specialist support. That is why we have continued to grow our Safe Spaces initiative to nearly 5,000 pharmacies across the UK.

Our foundations with businesses and community pharmacies have enabled us to work alongside the Home Office to provide a long-term commitment to supporting domestic abuse victims.

Although we are in a period of lockdown and isolation, our message to victims is domestic abuse services are open, and we can help you.”

The Safe Spaces and Ask For ANI schemes have been developed in response to a rise in incidents of domestic abuse during lockdown. 

Hestia saw a 38 per cent increase in people trying to access its domestic abuse support services in the first six months of lockdown, compared to the same six-month period in 2019, while 40,000 calls were made to the UK’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline during the first three months of lockdown. 

Pharmacies looking to adopt the Ask For ANI codeword scheme can find information on how to do so here. 

Safe Spaces are available in Boots, Morrisons, Superdrug and Well pharmacies, as well as hundred of independent pharmacies across the UK. You can find more information on the Safe Spaces scheme here. 


UK Says No More urges victims to make use of Safe Spaces as incidents are expected to rise during Euros.

UK Says No More has joined together with high street banks and pharmacies to urge anyone at risk to access support via designated Safe Spaces found on high streets across the UK.

Read full story

NatWest marks ‘No More Week’ by opening Safe Spaces for economic and domestic abuse victims

6 March 2024 NatWest Group is announcing that starting this week it will offer Safe Spaces to people experiencing economic and domestic abuse in over 360 branches across the UK including NatWest, Ulster Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland branches.  Safe Spaces, part of Hestia’s UK Says No More campaign, are designated locations which anyone ...

Read full story

Nationwide – the UK’s biggest branch network – joins Hestia’s Safe Spaces

Nationwide – the largest branch network of any UK banking brand -– will offer Hestia’s Safe Spaces scheme to people experiencing domestic abuse across more than 400 branches across the UK. A recent poll by Nationwide shows almost half (48%) the population have experienced, or know someone who has experienced domestic abuse, with almost one ...

Read full story