Joint Statement on codeword scheme

Following the ‘Mask 19’ initiative in Spain and other European countries, where women can use a code word to alert pharmacies about domestic abuse, the UK Government is planning a code word scheme in supermarkets and pharmacies.

We support efforts to develop a national scheme through which survivors can access support through retailers, but remain clear that a number of safeguards must established for this to be safe and effective.

Change that Lasts, developed by Women’s Aid Federation of England and Welsh Women’s Aid, is a plan for a future where all survivors get the right response to domestic abuse the very first time. This starts in the community, who we know can be critical ‘gate-openers’ or ‘gate-closers’ to support. Survivors tell us they can feel judged, isolated or silenced by the people around them, and that when they tell someone about the abuse they often encounter poor responses and harmful victim blaming attitudes. Over the past four years, the Change that Lasts ‘ask me’ scheme has worked with local communities to change this. We have delivered 12 hours of free training to over 1000 ask me ambassadors2 across the UK, equipping them to understand domestic abuse and deliver the ‘right response’.

Ambassadors are empowered to listen, believe and validate survivors and to signpost them safely to specialist support – bridging communities and local services, who are best placed to deliver ongoing support that meets their needs.

To read the full statement, click here: Joint statement on codeword scheme

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Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

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