Leeds domestic abuse victims reminded about 999 call silent solution and Ask for Ani pharmacies scheme

Domestic abuse victims in Leeds are being reminded about the ways they can discreetly seek help at pharmacies or silently alert 999 call handlers in an emergency.

Sunday, 21st February 2021, 11:45 am

In a message sent out through West Yorkshire Police's WY Community Alert system, the force also included information about how to recognise the signs of potential abuse.

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Asha Iqbal, a neighbourhood support officer for Leeds district, said: "Despite the decrease in crime, we continue to focus on domestic abuse and are aware that due to currently being in national lockdown people may feel that they cannot contact anyone for help.

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The 'silent solution' allows 999 callers to press 55 if they cannot speak and they will be diverted to police call handlers. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

"I want to remind anyone reading this that the police are still here to help anyone suffering domestic abuse and that we have a number of methods that you can contact us including an on-line reporting form and the ‘Silent Solution’ for 999 calls."

The silent solution can be used when the caller is unable to speak or request police to the initial operator. If the caller presses 55 on the phone, they will then be transferred to the police.

Ms Iqbal added: "In addition, there is other support available such as ‘Ask for Ani’ which is a service that victims of domestic abuse can access support safely and discreetly at participating pharmacies".

Ani stands for 'action needed immediately' and if a pharmacy has the Ask for Ani symbol on display then its staff are ready to help if needed.

Anyone who asks for Ani will be offered a private space, given a phone and be asked if they want a 999 police response or to speak to a domestic abuse support helpline.

Domestic abuse is not always physical violence. It can also include coercive control and ‘gaslighting’, economic abuse, online abuse, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and sexual abuse.

Potential signs that someone is being subjected to domestic abuse are:

• being withdrawn, or being isolated from family and friends;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.

If you are worried that someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, you can call 24-hour Leeds Domestic Violence Service phone line on 0113 246 0401 or Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

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