Leeds-based Escapism Bar Group has signed up to a national scheme to protect those on nights out from unwarranted sexual advances or menacing behaviour.
‘Ask for Angela’ is a recognised phrase that when used in a participating venue, staff will either help the person who quoted it to leave discreetly, or ask the other person to leave.
Escapism Bar Group which owns and operates seven Leeds city centre bars – including Mean-Eyed Cat, Tiki Hideaway, Cuckoo, Verve and Call Lane Social – is now displaying Ask for Angela posters in all its premises, as well as training staff in how to respond to this recognised call for help.
The initiative was started by Hayley Child, the Substance Misuse Strategy Coordinator for Lincolnshire County Council. It is named in remembrance of Angela Crompton, who was abused and killed by her husband in 2012.
Posters placed in both men’s and ladies’ toilets explain the scheme, and how those feeling uncomfortable or frightened can escape their current predicament.
The posters say: “Hi, I’m Angela, are you on a date that isn’t working out? Do you feel like you’re not in a safe situation? Is your Tinder or POF (Plenty of Fish) date not who they said they were on their profile? Does it all feel a bit weird?
“If you go to the bar and ask for ‘Angela’ the bar staff will know you need some help getting out of your situation and will call you a taxi or help you out discreetly – without too much fuss.”
Mel Harrison, who co-founded the company in 2004 with her husband Phil, said: “Our business is all about people having a great time in great venues, and feeling safe is key to this.
“Ask for Angela is a simple yet effective scheme that we are happy to support and promote in all our bars. Our staff are trained to keep a look out for trouble, but sometimes they can’t always spot ‘creepy’ behaviour.
“Ask for Angela is a way that our customers can discretely alert our staff, who in turn will act accordingly, ensuring the person who asked for help gets away safely or the other party is asked to leave the premises.”