An innovative campaign enabling those who feel vulnerable in pubs and clubs to discreetly approach staff and request assistance is being rolled out across the Borough.
The scheme, backed by Warrington Borough Council, allows customers who could be feeling threatened or unsafe on a date to get help by approaching the bar and “Asking for Angela” a phrase aimed at alerting bar staff.
Available at participating venues throughout Warrington, the ‘Ask for Angela’ initiative aims to reduce sexual violence and vulnerability by providing customers with the non-descript phrase they can use to gain assistance from staff members in order to be separated from the company of someone with whom they feel unsafe due to that person’s actions, words or behaviour.
By “Asking for Angela”, an individual is alerting staff that they require help. They will be taken aside, or to a safer location, so they can speak in confidence to that staff member about what assistance they need. Angela is a play on the word (guardian) angel.
Options available to staff include: offering to call a taxi for the individual; contacting their friends or family; or requesting that an individual causing the distress leaves the venue.
Advisory posters have been provided to licensed premises in Warrington who are encouraged to put up the posters in the toilets and provide reassurance there is support available if needed.
The initiative – originally launched by Lincolnshire County Council – has already proved successful with 44 venues participating in the scheme.
Judith Guthrie “This is a simple yet effective scheme which empowers people to seek help if they are feeling vulnerable. It may be that they are in the company of someone who is not what they seemed and they want to get away safely and with minimum fuss. This will hopefully prevent situations from escalating into something more serious.”
Already the pilot has raised awareness amongst staff and encouraged them to look out for potentially vulnerable customers. It is hoped customers will be reassured that staff are open to offering discreet assistance.