Domestic abuse victims will be now be able to “Ask for Ani” to indicate they need helpat pharmacies nationwide as part of a codeword scheme.
Anyone who is suffering from domestic abuse will be able to ask for support without their abusers or other members of the public knowing, and as soon as they “Ask for Ani”, they will be led into a private consulting room where they will be put in touch with the police, relevant support services, or helplines.
The UK government-backed scheme will be available immediately.
It can initially be accessed at 2,300 Boots stores and in 255 independent pharmacies, with other pharmacies are being asked to sign up to the programme.
The scheme follows another initiative launched in May by the charity Hestia, which saw safe spaces installed in the consultation rooms of more than 5,000 pharmacies nationwide, and also resembles the earlier Ask For Angela scheme launched by the Metropolitan Police in bars, pubs and restaurants to prevent sexual violence.
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), one in five of the offences reported during and straight after the first national lockdown were related to domestic abuse, and police forces in England and Wales recorded more than 250,000 domestic violence crimes between March and June last year.
During the previous lockdown in England in November, the charity Refuge – which runs the National Domestic Abuse helpline – said it was “very concerned” by the continuing upward trend in demand for its services.
This new pharmacy-based initiative was first proposed during a “hidden harms” web summit hosted by Boris Johnson in June, which examined some of the repercussions of lockdown.
In a statement in the House of Commons, Victoria Atkins – the safeguarding minister – said the scheme would “offer a vital lifeline to all victims, ensuring they get help in a safe and discreet way”, but Jess Phillips – shadow home office minister who speaks on domestic violence and safeguarding – called for more backing for support services.
Ms Phillips said: “Domestic abuse and community support services are currently planning for redundancies in March – quite unbelievable in the middle of a global pandemic and a national lockdown,
“The sector, the Labour party, the domestic abuse and the victims’ commissioner have all called repeatedly for sustainable funding for at least the next year [and] the staff being made redundant are the very people the minister needs for ‘Ask for Ani’ to have any chance of success.”
Atkins said in response that the government had pledged £27 million towards services connected to protecting people who face domestic abuse.
Police appeal for information regarding ‘serious assault’ around Old Trafford before United game in October
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are appealing for fresh information on a “serious assault” committed around the Old Trafford area earlier this year.
GMP issued a press release on Friday, 9 December, asking for members of the public to come forward and share any details they might have on the attack carried along Seymour Grove in Trafford around 1:30pm on 16 October 2022.
They go on to explain that “a man in his 20s was assaulted by a group of unknown males” on the way to the game at Old Trafford, adding that “it is believed that the suspects were also attending the Manchester United vs Newcastle United match.”
It remains unclear whether or not the assailants were travelling fans in town to support the away side but GMP are looking to speak to the men pictured as they may be able to help with enquiries.
As detailed in the statement, “the victim suffered a severely broken jaw, a broken nose, numerous cuts to the face, and damage to the nerves of four teeth which he is likely to need further medical treatment for.” Terrible stuff.
The authorities are continuing to investigate the Seymour Grove assault after having followed up on a number of lines of enquiry since the incident took place and are now asking for the public’s help.
Anyone with information, or anyone who may have footage/images, or can identify the men in the photos, can contact Greater Manchester Police on 101, quoting log number 1589 on 16/10/22; or, alternatively use the Live Chat service HERE.
Alternatively, information can be shared anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Featured Image — Greater Manchester Police/David Dixon (via Geograph)
Football fans call out ‘tone-deaf’ FA TikTok for mocking ‘life-threatening’ head injury
Football fans are calling out the official FA Cup TikTok account for mocking a serious head injury suffered by a Stockport County player earlier this week.
The Hatters beat Charlton Athletic in fine fashion with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday, 7 December, with Will Collar’s hattrick (the club’s first since 2019) sending them through to the next round of the cup.
However, another notable moment from the night was right back Macauley Southam-Hales’ collision with advertising hoarders after a shove from Charlton captain George Dobson.
As the likes of County fan Joel Ward wrote on Twitter, many online were quick to slam the clip for joking about an injury that hospitalised the player, the consensus being that it isn’t a “great look” for the FA.
While many reacting in the comments recognised that Dobson didn’t intend to hurt Southam-Hales by shepherding the ball out of play, the Stockport defender does hit the predominantly metal structure with some force and was left in clear discomfort following the smash.
The video itself has since been removed from the official account following the backlash but people are still reacting as the clip continues to be reshared on social media.
The clip was branded as everything from “disgusting” and “disgraceful” to “simply unbelievable”.
What’s most concerning is that despite the recent push to promote awareness surrounding concussions, brain trauma and even heading the ball – which, historically, haven’t been properly monitored in football – whoever posted the video on behalf of the FA didn’t consider the very serious nature of the incident.
As alluded to above, perhaps what makes the post even more shocking and tone-deaf is that it comes just weeks after Bath City player forward Alex Fletcher was placed in intensive care following an almost identical accident.
The 23-year-old underwent life-saving brain surgery and although he has since been discharged from the hospital, he is said to have a “long road to recovery ahead of him”.
County confirmed that despite being the all-clear pitchside, Southam-Hales was taken to the hospital as a precaution after he suffered significant swelling around the neck area. Nevertheless, as we know all too well, it could have been much worse.
As for the FA, they have now apologised for the inappropriate attempt at humour, confirming that they have removed the video from all official accounts, admitting that “it should never have been published and assuring that they will “review [their] processes to ensure this never happens again.”
You can watch the full highlights from Stockport County vs Charlton Athletic HERE but we’d recommend you watch Alan Shearer reminding everyone who plays football to be more vigilant when it comes to head injuries.