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Home  »   National Association of Women PharmacistsLatest News   »   16 days of Action Against Domestic Violence

16 days of Action Against Domestic Violence

Today marks the start of the '16 days of Action Against Domestic Violence' campaign which supports employers to take action against domestic abuse and violence. All employers have a legal obligation to assess risk and take action against domestic violence for the health, safety and wellbeing of employees.

Thu 25th November 2021 The PDA

Employers can do more to help employees that are victims of domestic violence, to train those who witness it, and to protect staff as a whole. 

In order to acknowledge the signs that indicate that domestic violence may be taking place, first employers need to be aware of the various forms of domestic violence and what to look out for. 

What is Domestic Violence (DV)?

Domestic abuse and violence describes a continuum of behaviours ranging from verbal abuse, threats and intimidation, manipulative behaviour, physical and sexual assault, through to rape and homicide.

It is a complex issue that all health care professionals, including pharmacists, should have some understanding of. They should be aware of who is affected, how individual victims may present, how the subject could be approached, and most importantly what professionals can do to help and support victims of abuse and violence. Learn more.

Domestic abuse statistics

  • 25% of women are affected by domestic violence during their adult lifetimes
  • 16% of men are affected by domestic violence during their adult lifetimes
  • 58% of abused women miss at least three days of work a month
  • 56% of abused women arrive late for work at least five times
  • 5% of men in England and Wales experienced DV in the last year alone (2020)
  • 7% of women in England and Wales experienced DV in the last year alone (2020)

Domestic violence and support available for women

The ‘Ask for ANI’ codeword scheme for domestic abuse victims (where ANI stands for Action Needed Immediately) was designed to help victims of domestic abuse get immediate help from their local pharmacy. Since its launch in January 2021, more than 4,000 community pharmacies have signed up to deliver the scheme.

Ayah Abbas, Community Pharmacist and PDA NAWP Network Committee Member writes about her motivation to sign up for the ANI scheme:

“During the pandemic the majority of us, as health professionals, mainly focused on protecting our vulnerable patients from the virus. But during a specific consultation, it made me realise that the pandemic took my attention away from supporting victims of domestic abuse. I sat there reflecting how the pandemic had not just increased patients’ vulnerability in terms of their health but increased the risk of danger in other ways. The Office for National Statistics reported a 12% increase in the number of domestic abuse cases that were referred to victim support in the week lockdown restrictions eased in mid-May 2020, compared to the previous weeks. This is since victims were struggling to seek help and support which made the domestic abuser feel more powerful and in control.

During the pandemic, community pharmacies kept their doors open for their patients. During a specific consultation, a patient opened up to me about how she went through domestic abuse and how lucky she was to be out of that relationship. She considered herself very lucky as it did not happen during the pandemic as she felt the lockdown would have meant a lack of support. That moment made me sit and reflect on how we were just focusing on COVID-related deaths but not deaths caused by COVID indirectly. The MPs were informed by Counting Dead Women that between 23 March and 12 April, at least 16 domestic abuse killings had taken place. This number was much higher than the average before the pandemic. The National Domestic Abuse Helpline stated that calls were running 49% higher than normal.

This opened my eyes and I did my research to find ways to help and support domestic abuse victims during the pandemic. Community pharmacies have a safe space known as the consultation room for trained staff where they can listen and signpost victims to immediate support and help. This was all included in Ask For ANI which encouraged me to carry out the scheme at my community pharmacy. Ask for ANI and the Safe Space scheme provides support and safe space for domestic abuse victims from their local community pharmacy.”

The 16 days of Action Against Domestic Violence campaign is running from 25 November to 10 December. 

Learn more

Get involved

  • PDA members are encouraged to raise awareness of the 16 days of Action Against Domestic Violence campaign and share the campaign resources with colleagues.
  • Raise awareness of the campaign using the hashtag #16daysofaction
  • This is the perfect opportunity for members to have a conversation with their employer about the campaign and ask that they sign the pledge to demonstrate their commitment to the global fight against domestic violence. Employers can sign the pledge here. 
  • Follow the PDA on social media and share posts relating to the campaign to help raise awareness of this important issue. The PDA can be found on the following social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn.


Not yet a PDA member?

If you have not yet joined the PDA, we encourage you to join today and ask your colleagues to do the same.

Membership is FREE to pharmacy students and trainee pharmacists.


Read about our key member benefits here.



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