The ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign, which is being funded by the West Yorkshire Mayor, aims to keep all people safe whilst they enjoy a night out.
The idea of the campaign is that anyone can say the code word ‘Angela’ to staff at participating venues across the Wakefield district to signal when they’re in an uncomfortable situation and would like assistance.
The venue can then respond by helping the customer to leave the venue, reuniting them with a friend, or calling a taxi. If needed and where safe to do so, the venue may also request support from security and/or the police.
The council is working in partnership with West Yorkshire Police to ensure the campaign rolls out smoothly, and that venues and their staff understand the campaign and are trained on what to do should someone ‘Ask for Angela’.
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The initial launch of the campaign will include training and briefing to over 150 venues across the district, circulation of posters and leaflets for venues to display – both for staff and public – as well as social media promotion to make more people aware of the campaign so they can call on it should it be required.
In order to make this campaign authentically Wakefield, local artist Rachel Oliver was commissioned to design the look and feel of the campaign materials.
Coun Maureen Cummings, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Poverty and Health, said: “There have been lots of incidents in the news recently highlighting the dangers facing people – particularly women – during nights out, and it has become a concern for many people.
“As Christmas approaches, lots of people will be out socialising and having fun and they should be able to enjoy themselves without the fear of being unsafe. That’s why it is important for us to launch this initiative now, improve public safety and make sure that people feel safe and secure whilst enjoying the wonderful hospitality our district has to offer over the festive season and beyond.”
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “’Ask for Angela’ is a fantastic initiative and I was very pleased to secure backing from the Safety of Women at Night Fund, along with key local partners, to support this launch.
“Improving the safety of women and girls is one of my core pledges as Mayor and this new campaign in Wakefield, which is also being rolled out across West Yorkshire, is a really positive step in delivering on that.
“I’d encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the campaign and please make use of it, if something doesn’t feel right on a night out.”
Chief Superintendent Mark McManus, Wakefield District Commander, said: “The issue of women’s safety is rightly a key national and local issue and we do understand the genuine safety concerns that women have.
“As a force we seek to support any initiative which looks to improve women’s safety and that’s why we welcome the launch of Ask for Angela in Wakefield.
“The scheme has been in use for some time in other parts of the country and we are pleased its introduction is being backed as a way of providing extra support for persons who may feel unsafe or threatened.
“Women should feel safe to walk the streets of the Wakefield district, including in our night-time economy, and we remain committed to working with partner organisations to make the county a safer place to live and work in.”
The “Ask Angela” campaign is named in remembrance of Angela Crompton, a woman who was abused and killed by her husband in 2012 when an argument about redecorating his house got out of control. The campaign name, “Angela”, was also inspired by the meaning of the name which is “messenger of God” or ” angel “.
Whilst nationally the campaign has predominantly focused on women, anyone, regardless of their gender, is encouraged to use ‘Ask for Angela’ to discreetly seek help and assistance should they feel unsafe, vulnerable, threatened, or harassed.
People can find out more, download the Ask for Angela materials, and sign up to the campaign at www.wakefield.gov.uk/community/ask-for-angela