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Home Secretary visits Boots pharmacy in recognition of Ask for ANI abuse codeword scheme

22 February 2023
News CSR

Home Secretary, Suella Braverman has visited a Boots Pharmacy in Warrington to speak to its pharmacy team about the Ask for ANI domestic abuse codeword scheme, recognising its important role in the community to help protect and offer a safe space for anyone impacted by domestic violence.

The Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) scheme, set up by the Home Office in 2021 and now part of charity Hestia’s UK Says No More campaign, is available in all of Boots’ 2,200 pharmacies across the UK, through which, Boots team members have supported thousands of individuals.

Ms Braverman announced that due to the success of the scheme in community pharmacies such as Boots, it will now be expanded to other locations in communities across the UK, such as job centres. The move is a key part of no government measures to crack down on domestic abusers.

At the Warrington store, Ms Braverman spoke with Boots team members and including Pharmacist Yi Ker, who has personally supported patients and customers who have asked for “ANI” or a safe space in-store.

When a customer or patient uses the codeword to Boots team members, the pharmacy team are alerted that the person is a victim of domestic abuse and needs help. They are then discretely taken to a safe space within the pharmacy where they can use resources available to access help and advice, call the National Abuse Helpline, the police, or a family member. 

Ms Braverman also met with Patrick Ryan, CEO, Hestia and Marc Donovan, Director of Healthcare Development and Public Affairs, Boots UK to discuss the importance of the scheme.

Marc said: “Boots pharmacies have long been a place where people can turn for help, advice and trusted support on their local high street. We are pleased to have trained over 15,000 pharmacy team members to recognise the discreet support that vulnerable people might need if they ask to speak to ‘ANI’.

“We are proud to have partnered with Hestia and the Home Office on this important initiative, with Boots pharmacies having provided thousands of domestic abuse survivors with a safe space and access to support.”


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Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and 2,100 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on

*Figures accurate as of 30 November 2023