An innovative campaign enabling those who feel vulnerable in pubs and clubs to discreetly approach staff and get help is being launched in the City of Wolverhampton.

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The Ask for Angela initiative, which will be operating at a number of pubs and clubs in the city centre, aims to reduce sexual violence and vulnerability by providing customers with a phrase they can use if they find themselves in an unsafe situation.

It encourages people to go to the bar and "Ask for Angela", which will alert staff to their cry for help and mean they can take action to defuse the situation. They will take the individual to one side or to a safer location away from the person causing the problem so that they can speak in confidence to staff about the situation and any help they may need.

Staff are encouraged to take action as appropriate, perhaps calling a taxi for the individual, contacting their friends or family or requesting that the person causing the distress - either through their actions, words or behaviour - leaves the venue.

Twelve pubs in Wolverhampton have already signed up for the scheme, launched by the City of Wolverhampton Council, West Midlands Police and Wolverhampton Pubwatch, including the Plough and Harrow, Lych Gate Tavern, Chicago Rock Cafe, Wheatsheaf, Old Still, Yates, Hogshead, Slaters, Bohemian, Grain Store, Dog and Doublet and The Royal London.

Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "We want people to have a great time and feel safe and comfortable when they are out and about in our City's pubs and clubs, and this is a simple yet effective scheme which empowers them to seek help if they are feeling at all vulnerable by raising their concerns with staff.

"People might find themselves in the company of someone who is not who they seemed, and may will want to get away from them safely and without any fuss. By going to the bar and asking for 'Angela', staff will be able to make sure this happens and help prevent the situation from becoming more serious.

"I would like to thank the pubs and clubs which are already part of the Ask for Angela scheme, and would encourage others to sign up so that people who find themselves in unsafe situations know they can get help in the event they need it.

"It is particularly appropriate that we are launching Ask for Angela during the Orange Wolverhampton campaign in support of the United Nations' 16 days of activism to end violence against women and girls, as this is an excellent tool to help tackle gender-based violence."

Donna Boden, General Manager at Yates Wolverhampton and Chair of Wolverhampton Pubwatch, said: "Ask for Angela is a great idea which will support young females who are feeling vulnerable. It's great to see so many local businesses and networks coming together to a support such a fantastic scheme."

Wolverhampton is only the third area in the country to offer the service, which was originally devised by Lincolnshire County Council.

  • released: Thursday 7 December, 2017