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‘Ask for ANI’ domestic abuse scheme to be piloted in JBos

A scheme which allows domestic abuse victims to receive emergency help is to be piloted in Jobs and Benefits offices (JBos), the Department for Communities has said.

The ‘Ask for ANI’ codeword scheme provides anyone at risk of abuse with support in accessing help and a safe space in which to do so.

The ‘Action Needed Immediately’ (ANI) scheme launched in pharmacies in January 2021. Due to its success, the scheme is now being extended to include four of the Department’s Jobs and Benefits offices.

Each office will take part in a nine-month pilot with specialist staff trained to help those suffering, or at risk of, abuse. Safe spaces will be available in Armagh, Andersonstown, Larne and Lisnagelvin JBos where individuals who ask for ‘ANI’ will be brought to a safe, private room.

The ‘ANI’ codeword alerts staff that the person is seeking immediate, urgent help. A clear process will be in place to help staff provide necessary support. Their role focuses on offering individuals a quiet, private space to contact specialist services who can advise and support accordingly.

The pilot scheme will also run at 14 Jobcentre sites across England, Scotland and Wales.

The Department for Communities is fully committed to the Executive’s Stopping Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse in Northern Ireland Strategy and the NICS Domestic and Sexual Abuse Policy.