Home is not always a safe place. Domestic abuse incidents have unfortunately soared during the national lockdowns, with nearly a ten-fold increase in calls to helplines and a surge in suspected killings. The dangers faced by domestic abuse victims are being compounded by being trapped indoors with abusers, as well as by the additional financial and mental health challenges faced as a result of the pandemic. As lockdown restrictions start to ease, domestic abuse incidents are predicted to surge yet again, as a result of potential attempts by victims to leave their abusive relationships. As such we are at a critical juncture where we need communications to reach as many people as possible. We are working with a coalition of leading charities, including Refuge and Women’s Aid, to deliver a communications campaign backed by the government, the ambition of which is to raise awareness of the signs of domestic abuse and the types of support and services that are available.
The campaign seeks to raise awareness of the support options available to those who might be suffering. One of those is the recently launched Ask for Ani codeword scheme. Backed by the government, and accessible in pharmacies across the UK, the initiative allows those at risk 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 the police or would like help to access support services such as a national or local domestic abuse helplines.
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