How you can access help
If you are worried that a friend, neighbour or loved one is a victim of domestic abuse then you can call the freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 and further information is on the helpline’s dedicated website here.
If you believe there is an immediate risk of harm to someone, or it is an emergency, you should always call 999.
The Government has a detailed webpage Domestic abuse here: get help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak where you can find out how to get help if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse.
‘Ask for ANI’ at pharmacies
In particular, the government pages have translated guidance, welfare benefits and housing advice as well as advice on how to get legal help. The pages also give details on the domestic abuse code-word scheme.
If someone is experiencing domestic abuse and needs immediate help, they can ask for ‘ANI’ in a participating pharmacy. ‘ANI’ stands for Action Needed Immediately but also phonetically sounds like the name Annie. If a pharmacy has the ‘Ask for ANI’ logo on display, it means they’re ready to help. They will offer the person a private space, provide a phone and ask if they need support from the police or other domestic abuse support services.
Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs)
SARCs remain open and accessible during COVID-19 to offer non-judgmental advice and support. Victims and survivors will be triaged on contact with the SARC, to ensure safe management during this period. Remote support will be available to support pathways to therapeutic interventions. Forensic examination services will be offered to those that want it, to support a criminal prosecution.
If a patient presents with the signs of sexual assault it is important that the SARC is informed urgently. A directory of local services is available on the NHS website here.