The Ask for Angela initiative was founded in the United Kingdom and commenced in Wagga Wagga in 2017. Its earlier success in NSW is what prompted the campaign’s expansion.
When a patron asks for Angela at a participating venue, it immediately alerts trained staff to escort them to safety.
Staff can intervene by calling police, organising safe transport home with a taxi or other ride share service, or by referring the patron to support services.
Data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research shows reports of sexual and indecent assault and other sexual offences have increased over the past five years.
The number of recorded sexual assaults alone rose from 4988 in 2014 to 5819 in 2018 in NSW – a 17% increase.
NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman said the Ask for Angela initiative is more important than ever for tackling the scourge of indecent assault and sexual offences in licenced venues.
“No one deserves to feel threatened or intimidated when socialising, but if you’re in that situation, asking for Angela turns bar staff into guardian angels,” Mr Speakman said.
NSW Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said this is a modern approach to a modern problem.
“Given the popularity of dating apps, it’s now fairly common for people to meet for the first time at bars and pubs,” Mr Dominello said.
“Ask for Angela is a great example of the valuable work liquor accords are doing to create better, and more importantly safer, nights out for their patrons.”