Pharmacies join codeword scheme to help victims of domestic abuse

Boots pharmacies across Dumfries and Galloway are taking part in a codeword scheme developed by the Home Office to provide a discreet way for victims of domestic abuse to signal that they need emergency help.

Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) allows victims of domestic abuse to use the codeword ANI in participating pharmacies to let staff know that they require an emergency police response or help contacting a helpline or specialist support service.

Participating pharmacies will display posters in their window and around the pharmacy to let customers know that they can approach their staff to seek help. Any information shared will be treated confidentially.

When a victim uses the codeword or asks for help, the member of staff will ask the victim to accompany them to the consultation room. They will then check whether the victim is in danger and wants the police to be called. If so, the staff member will offer the use of a phone to dial 999 or make the call on the victim’s behalf.

If the victim is not in an emergency, the staff member will support the victim to contact a national domestic abuse helpline or local support service. They may also contact the police via 101.

Boots in Dumfries, Annan, Thornhill, Kirkcudbright, Castle Douglas, Gatehouse of Fleet, Newton Stewart and Stranraer have all joined the scheme.

Other Local and National Sources of Support in Dumfries and Galloway:

  • Police (Domestic Abuse Unit) 101 In an emergency phone 999
  • Dumfriesshire and Stewartry Women’s Aid 01387 263 052 or 07710 152 772 (24hrs)
  • Wigtownshire Women’s Aid 01776 703 104 (24hrs) Dumfries and Galloway
  • Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Support Centre 01387 253 113
  • Social Work Services 030 33 33 3001

Public Protection website

National Helplines:

  • National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0800 027 1234 (24hrs)
  • Rape Crisis Scotland National Helpline Freephone 0808 801 0302 (6pm – midnight)
  • National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline (UK) 0800 999 5428