2 May 2017

A campaign is starting in Sheffield to support safe dating and tackle sexual harassment in pubs, bars and clubs.

‘Ask For Angela’ encourages people to discreetly ask for help from bar staff if they are feeling unsafe or uncomfortable. This might be whilst on a date or if they are getting unwanted attention.

Asking For Angela at the bar will discreetly alert staff to the call for help, and bar staff are being trained about how best to offer this. This might involve taking someone aside to speak in confidence, calling someone a taxi, contacting friends of family, asking the person causing distress to leave the venue, or calling the Police.

Twenty venues are being trained on Friday, 5 May, by Sheffield’s Drug and Alcohol/Domestic Abuse Coordination Team and Sheffield’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre.

The campaign will then go live on Friday, 19 May. All pubs, clubs and bars are encouraged to take part.

Alison Higgins, Domestic Abuse Strategic Manager at Sheffield City Council, said: “This is about keeping people safe and offering a discreet way for them to ask for help if they’re on a night out and getting unwanted attention or are out on a date and something doesn’t feel right. This is particularly important with the rise of internet dating and dating apps.

“We’re providing training to pubs, bars and nightclubs, and want as many as possible to take part.

“Sheffield has a busy, thriving and safe night-time economy and we work closely with venues through our Best Bar None scheme. This campaign is a further way to help people when they’re out at night.”

Ask For Angela launched in Lincolnshire last year, developed by Lincolnshire County Council, and gained global attention after a social media post about it went viral and was shared by more than 55,000 people.

Meera Kulkarni, Chief Executive of Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, said: “Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre is delighted to support the Ask Angela campaign in Sheffield.

“We want everyone to feel safe and enjoy their nights out wherever they are in the City. Whether it’s a date with someone you met online that doesn’t feel quite right or a night out with mates. If someone is commenting or behaving in a way that is disrespectful, unwelcome, threatening and/or harassing, it’s not ok.

“The Ask for Angela campaign will ensure that bar staff help support you and enable you to leave safely if that’s what you want. People might feel embarrassed about ‘making a fuss’ or be seen to be over- reacting but if you feel unsafe – it’s not ok. Whether you’re a woman or man, straight or gay – if you need help – Ask for Angela.”

South Yorkshire Police A/Inspector Louise Lambert added: “We welcome and support ‘Ask for Angela’ as an innovative and supportive programme with the main aim of keeping people safe within our city. A range of partner organisations and venues have all come together to support and train their teams for dealing with incidents that arise through the programme, and we are committed to provide all the help we can to our communities so they can enjoy their evenings out in a safe environment.”

Visit www.sheffieldbestbarnone.com for more information about the campaign.

Contact Tracey Ford by emailing tracey.ford@sheffield.gov.uk if you work in a pub, bar or night club and want to take part.