By Sally Underwood • 12 February 2021 • 11:09
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
Image: Clarence House
Speaking via a video conference, the Duchess of Cornwall praised the Ask for Ani (Action Needed Immediately) scheme offering a safe space for domestic abuse victims when they mention the codeword “Ani.”
The scheme has launched in more than 2,000 pharmacies, which will offer a private space for anyone who uses the codeword.
Talking about the project to Rachel Williams, the founder of charity SafeLives, and chief executive Suzanne Jacob, Camilla said: “It’s pure brilliance because it’s so simple, yet it’s so effective.”
She added: “My heart is well and truly in it so I’d really like to do anything to help all these wonderful people.”
If a victim of domestic abuse says “Ani” in a participating pharmacy a trained member of staff will provide a phone and ask if the person needs help from the police or other domestic abuse support services.
The project was set up following increase in cases of domestic abuse being reported during the COVID pandemic.
Suzanne Jacobs explained: “One of the things that Rachel and the other SafeLives pioneers were talking about right at the start of the first lockdown is, ‘How do we open up new spaces for people to access support?’
“And from there came the Ask for Ani scheme, which is now in over 2,500 Boots stores and over 200 independent pharmacies.
“All of those places opening up their doors, training their teams to be able to just have an initial conversation with somebody.”
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Sally Underwood is a former aide to several former cabinet members and now contributes her views on Parliament’s ever-changing shape in her column for the Euro Weekly News.
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