Updated:13/02/2021 01: 35h
UK has launched a help mechanism for victims of sexist violence that will allow them to request help at pharmacies using a keyword. This was reported by the British government in a statement detailing that the plan, which went into operation on January 14, have joined the 2,300 pharmacies of the Boots chain throughout the country, as well as another 255 independent pharmacies, although others are expected to join as days go by. Women who want to ask for help can ask to go to these establishments and ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately, which means “help is needed immediately” in Spanish), at which point “a trained pharmacist employee will offer a private place to discuss their situation and see if the victim needs to speak to the police or access support services.
The initiative thus joins those of countries such as Spain and France, where pharmacies are also now the new aid point. One of the reasons is that they are establishments considered essential, which is why they remain open even in the event of severe confinements such as the one that the population in England is currently experiencing to try to stop the spread of Covid-19.
The first Minister, Boris Johnson, pledged to implement this plan last year, when it recognized that restrictions due to the pandemic affect the ability of victims to ask for help. “Having to ask people, once again, to stay home to fight this virus, it is vital that we take action for those who are not at home safe,” said the premier, adding: “That is why We have launched this plan, to give some of the most vulnerable people in society a critical lifeline, ensuring that they have access to the support they need and that it will keep them safe.
According to the Office for National Statistics, one in five crimes recorded by the police during and immediately after the first confinement last spring in England and Wales involved domestic abuse. Nicki Norman, Acting Executive Director of Women’s Aid, the national organization that works to end domestic abuse against women and their children, asked that people who attend to women in pharmacies be trained, since “the first response they receive” after asking for help “is essential for their next step. But it is neither fair nor safe to expect staff members to respond effectively without solid staff training, ”he said.