PHARMACIES across the UK are launching a codeword scheme to offer a 'lifeline' to domestic abuse victims.

The Government has teamed up with pharmacies and Boots to launch a domestic abuse Ask for ANI codeword scheme.

Victims are now able to access support from thousands of pharmacies across the country.

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The Ask for ANI scheme allows those at risk or suffering from abuse to signal, discreetly, that they need help and support.

When an individual asks for ANI at a pharmacy, 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 helpline.

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Pharmacies are allowed to stay open over the lockdown period because they are classified as essential business, therefore, can provide a safe space for victims to sound the alarm if they are isolated at home with their abuser and unable to receive any other help

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "As we once again have to ask people across the country to stay at home to tackle this virus, it is vital that we take action to protect those for who home is not a safe space.

"This is why we have launched this scheme, supported by pharmacies up and down the country, to give some of the most vulnerable people in society a critical lifeline - making sure they have access to the support they need and keep them safe from harm."

The scheme will initially be available through the 2,300 Boots stores across the UK as well as 255 independent pharmacies.

Read here: Domestic abuse: men account for a quarter of reports

Anyone trapped at home with their abuser can report domestic abuse silently and discretely by calling 999 then pressing 55: the operator will hear the button press and raise the alarm.

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