The NSW government has embarked on the internationally recognised ‘Ask for Angela’ safety campaign to combat violence, sexual assault and anti-social behaviour.
The initiative, which officially begins this Saturday, will allow people who feel unsafe or compromised during a date or other social situation in Sydney’s CBD to ask for help from the venue staff, who can then escort them to safety or contact authorities.
The program, launched in conjunction with NSW Police, the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) and the City of Sydney, has been trialled in Byron Bay, Wagga Wagga, Albury, and Orange.
“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,” said Minister for Police Troy Grant.
“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.”
The council’s deputy lord mayor Jess Miller told Broadsheet, “It’s a shame we’re in a situation where safety is such an issue, but this is a way of formalising it and letting the public know it exists and help is there.”
AHA NSW director of liquor and policing John Green said staff training has begun in many venues across Sydney. “Participating venues have been quite enthusiastic about introducing ‘Ask for Angela’ to the city of Sydney,” said Green.