Sydney pub, club and bar staff are being trained to follow a new protocol to assist persons who feel unsafe.
The NSW Government launched the internationally recognised ‘Ask for Angela’ safety campaign to prevent violence and anti-social behaviour in Sydney’s CBD last week
The program allows patrons to ask staff at participating venues for a woman called Angela if they feel unsafe, with the code word alerting trained staff to discreetly escort the person to safety.
Launched in conjunction with NSW Police, the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) and the City of Sydney, the program officially began on Saturday, July 14 and has already been trialled in Wagga Wagga, Albury, Orange and Byron Bay.
Originally created two years ago in Lincolnshire, England, Minister for Police Troy Grant said the program has been successful and 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,”
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.”
Central Metropolitan Region Police Commander Mark Walton stressed those who feel they are in immediate danger or need urgent help should call triple-0.
“We are determined to prevent sexual assaults and if this campaign allows us to remove people from harm’s way, then it’s well worth the wait,” he said.
Assistant Commissioner Walton added police will monitor how effective the program is before considering a broader use.
Sources: The Music, ABC, The Daily Telegraph