The British Government launched this Thursday a great campaign against gender violence, in the context of confinement by the coronavirus, whereby victims will be able to find help discreetly in pharmacies using a code phrase: “May I speak to Ani?”
“The ‘Ask for Ani’ program will allow people in danger or experiencing violence to discreetly inform that they need help,” the government explained in a statement, according to the AFP news agency.
This program is especially aimed at victims “isolated at home with their abuser and unable to get help in any other way, “British authorities said.
“A qualified pharmacist will then provide the victim with a private conversation space in order to understand if they need to speak with the police or want help from the gender violence hotline,” the official statement added.
“At a time when we must once again ask people across the country to stay home to fight coronavirus, it is vital that we take steps to protect those for whom home is not a safe space,” he claimed Prime Minister Boris Johnson, quoted in the statement.
The president of the National Association of Pharmacies, Mark Lyonette, told AFP added: “The alert mechanism ‘Ask for Ani’ is a discreet and subtle way to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society”
The government plans to run a four-week “focused” and “low-key” advertising campaign, especially on social media, to spread the code phrase and “make sure victims know how to ask for help.”
At present 255 independent pharmacies and 2,300 stores of the pharmaceutical giant Boots participate in the program and registrations are still open.
During the first lockdown in the UK – from mid-March to mid-June -, one in five reports registered by the police in England and Wales -more than 250,000- was referring to gender violence, as revealed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), with an increase of 18% compared to 2018.