'Ask for Angela' safety campaign launches in Sydney venues
The NSW Government has teamed with the Police Force, the Australian Hotels Association and the City of Sydney to launch the internationally recognised “Ask for Angela” safety campaign within the Sydney CBD.
Under the program, which originated two years ago in Lincolnshire, England, when a patron “Asks for Angela” at a participating venue, the code-word triggers a response from trained staff who will discreetly escort that person to safety or contact authorities for further assistance.
The concept is already being successfully trialled by Police, the AHA and Liquor Accords in Wagga, Albury, Orange and most recently Byron Bay.
The Sydney CBD trial formally begins on Saturday, July 14, at licensed venues across the Sydney CBD.
If one of the parties to a date feels uncomfortable or that encounter starts to take on a darker tone, then that person can approach staff and “Ask for Angela." Staff will then seek to discreetly escort that person to safety. Minister for Police Troy Grant supports the introduction in Sydney.
"Given the increasing popularity of online dating apps, many people are meeting for dates at bars, clubs and pubs having never met beyond the screens of their phone or computer," Minister Grant said.
"We don't want people feeling intimidated when they're socialising in the city, they're out to enjoy themselves, not feel threatened and this initiative supports their safety."
Sydney Deputy Lord Mayor Jess Miller said the program sends a message that anti-social and violent behaviour is intolerable.
"Everyone has the right to feel safe in the city, at all times," Cr Miller said.
"Ask for Angela sends a message that creepy behaviour will not be tolerated and that nobody has the right to make anyone else feel threatened in any way."
AHA NSW director of liquor and policing John Green said many venues across Sydney had shown interest in rolling out the program and staff training had already begun.
"Participating venues have been quite enthusiastic about introducing 'Ask for Angela' to the city of Sydney," he said.
However, the program has attracted criticism. Alex Carlton at News Corp writes that the original creator of the Ask for Angela scheme in the UK, Hayley Child, “wanted to work with bars and pubs, and find something that would be easy for them to implement”.
"And that’s it in a nutshell," says Carlton. "The “Ask for Angela” concept is easy. It’s fun. It’s some cute words that everyone can learn and we all feel we’ve done our bit.
"Meanwhile, women keep on dying, every day, in their own homes, at the hands of men they know.
"We’re not asking for “Angela”. We’re asking for real laws, real education, real respect and real protection."