“Ask For Angela” launches in Sydney’s CBD

11 July, 2018 by Vanessa Cavasinni

Following the success of the “Ask For Angela” campaign within the Wagga Wagga Liquor Accord, the NSW State Government,  Police Force, AHA NSW, and the City of Sydney have come together to launch the safety initiative within the city’s on-premise venues.

The concept first originated in Lincolnshire, England in 2015, where patrons could subtly ask venue staff after ‘Angela’ to signal that they were in an unsafe or vulnerable situation.  Trained staff could then discreetly and safely escort them off the premises or call police for assistance.

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The campaign was created in response to an increase in blind dates from dating apps like Tinder, and the possibilities that these dates may not always go according to plan. The initiative was rolled out by the AHA, Police and the Liquor Accord in Wagga Wagga last year, before also being adopted in Albury, Orange and Byron Bay.

The Sydney CBD trial is set to officially begin this Saturday 14 July, and NSW Minister for Police, Troy Grant, believes the campaign will follow the examples of the other areas of the state where  it has proven to keep people safe.

“I have seen the success the “Ask for Angela” trial has had in other areas of the state and overseas and I support its introduction to the Sydney CBD.”

“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,” the minister added.

“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.”

Campaign resources

Many Sydney CBD venues have signed up for the program and its associated training.

“We have been busy educating venue staff about how to enact the concept and how to facilitate the safety measures within their own environments,” stated AHA NSW director of liquor and policing, John Green.

“This is not about venue staff replacing the role of police or putting themselves at risk. This is about reinforcing the need to be aware of patron behaviour and to provide options when a date or social encounter doesn’t go as planned.

“Participating venues have been quite enthusiastic about introducing ‘Ask for Angela’ to the city of Sydney and we’re rolling out a fair bit of messaging about the initiative.”

Minister for Racing, Paul Toole, said “Ask for Angela” was a great example of the valuable work Liquor Accords are doing to target alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour.

“The Liquor Accords play a key role in the government’s approach to alcohol regulation,”  Toole stated.

“They represent a true collaboration between licensed venues, police, Liquor & Gaming NSW and local communities.”

Licensing officers have begun training with venue partners, and in addition have produced a demonstration video (below), posters and other instructive material about the campaign.