Bars and pubs across Sydney have stepped up to help make nights out safer, as part of the NSW Government's new "Ask for Angela" campaign.
To be trialled across the CBD in conjunction with the NSW Police, the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) and the City of Sydney, the initiative aims to combat late-night violence and sexual assault, riffing on a now internationally recognised program of the same name born two years ago in the UK.
The "Ask for Angela" campaign gives patrons at participating venues an 'out' if they're feeling unsafe or uncomfortable — simply ask for "Angela" at the bar and staff will discretely escort you to safety or help by contacting the authorities.
Trials of the concept are already underway across Wagga, Orange, Albury and Byron Bay, with Sydney's kicking off officially on July 14. As with elsewhere, it's hoping to help curb sexual assaults and anti-social behaviour, acting as a much-needed safety-line when a date turns bad.
"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," 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."
NSW Police has been training staff at participating venues on how best to help patrons who drop the campaign code word.