Domestic abuse
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Domestic abuse

What is domestic abuse?

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or background.

Domestic abuse is not always physical violence. It can also include:

  • coercive control and ‘gaslighting’
  • economic abuse
  • online abuse
  • threats and intimidation
  • emotional abuse
  • sexual abuse

What signs to look for

If you believe that you or someone else could be a victim of domestic abuse, there are signs that you can look out for including:

  • being withdrawn, or being isolated from family and friends
  • having bruises, burns or bite marks
  • having finances controlled, or not being given enough to buy food or pay bills
  • not being allowed to leave the house, or stopped from going to college or work
  • having your internet or social media use monitored, or someone else reading your texts, emails or letters
  • being repeatedly belittled, put down or told you are worthless
  • being pressured into sex
  • being told that abuse is your fault, or that you’re overreacting

Help if you are not in immediate danger

If you, or someone you know, is being abused there is help and support available:

Codeword scheme

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and need immediate help, ask for ‘ANI’ in a participating pharmacy. ‘ANI’ stands for Action Needed Immediately but also phonetically sounds like the name Annie. If a pharmacy has the ‘Ask for ANI’ logo on display, it means they’re ready to help. They will offer you a private space, provide a phone and ask if you need support from the police or other domestic abuse support services.

Help if you are in immediate danger

Call 999 and ask for the police

If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999 and listen to the questions from the operator and, if you can, respond by coughing or tapping on the handset.

Call 999 from a mobile

If prompted, press 55 to Make Yourself Heard and this will transfer your call to the police.Pressing 55 only works on mobiles and does not allow police to track your location.

Call 999 from a landline

If the operator can only hear background noise and cannot decide whether an emergency service is needed, you will be connected to a police call handler.

If you replace the handset, the landline may remain connected for 45 seconds in case you pick up again.

When 999 calls are made from landlines, information about your location should be automatically available to the call handlers to help provide a response.

If you are deaf or can’t verbally communicate

You can register with the emergency SMS service. Text REGISTER to 999. You will get a text which tells you what to do next. Do this when it is safe so you can text when you are in danger.