DOMESTIC abuse victims can now escape their tormentors by “Asking for Ani” at Boots chemists.

Boris Johnson launched the scheme, where victims “Ask for Ani” to "give some of the most vulnerable people in society a critical lifeline”.

Meaning 'Action Needed Immediately', trained staff in 2,300 Boots and 255 other pharmacies will know to take customers to one side and discuss escape options.

The PM said: “As we once again have to ask people across the country to stay at home to tackle this virus, it’s vital that we take action to protect those for who home is not a safe space.

“That 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.

"It will make sure they have access to the support they need and keep them safe from harm.”

HOW YOU CAN GET HELP:

Women's Aid has this advice for victims and their families:

  • Always keep your phone nearby.
  • Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
  • If you are in danger, call 999.
  • Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
  • Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
  • If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
  • Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.

If you are a ­victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support ­service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]

Women’s Aid provides a live chat service available. from 10am to noon.

You can also call the freephone 24-hour ­National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

The phrase will be promoted using discreet social media adverts and pharmacies will be given promotional material to display in store to signal to victims that they are participating.

Safeguarding Minister Victoria Atkins added: “I know that lockdown restrictions are especially difficult for those experiencing domestic abuse.

“The codeword scheme will offer a lifeline to all victims, ensuring they get urgent help in a safe and discreet way.”

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