Lincolnshire County Council doesn’t often make headlines across the world, but it’s getting global recognition this week for its clever approach to reducing sexual assault.
The Ask for Angela campaign caught the attention of millions when a Twitter user posted a photograph of a poster she spotted in the gender-neutral bathroom of a Lincolnshire bar. It offers simple advice to anyone feeling at risk or uneasy on a date: Ask the bar staff for “Angela,” a code word to let them know you need help.
The poster reads: “Are you on a date that isn’t working out? Is your Tinder or POF date not who they said they were on their profile? Do you feel like you’re not in a safe situation? Does it all feel a bit weird? If you go to the bar and ask for ‘Angela,’ the bar staff will know you need help getting out of your situation and will call you a taxi or help you out discreetly — without too much fuss.”
i saw this in a toilet and thought it was important and should be a thing everywhere not just lincolnshire !!!! pic.twitter.com/oO45I7gaJL
— izzi (@iizzzzzi) October 18, 2016
It’s the element of being helped discreetly that makes this concept so brilliant. Too many people don’t follow their gut instinct in a distressing situation because they don’t want to cause a scene or cause offence if they turn out to be wrong about someone.
“The ‘Ask for Angela’ posters are part of our wider #NoMore campaign which aims to promote a culture change in relation to sexual violence and abuse, promote services in Lincolnshire and empower victims to make a decision on whether to report incidents,” Hayley Child, substance misuse and sexual violence and abuse strategy coordinator for Lincolnshire County Council, told the Independent.
The tweet has now been retweeted 30,000 times and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with some people commenting that they have seen similar posters in their local bars in other parts of the country.
“Ask for Angela” should be implemented in every bar (and club, pub and entertainment venue) in every town, across the U.K., because it’s a national issue. Any efforts local councils make towards tackling the problem of sexual assault and protecting the safety of individuals is welcome — and “Ask for Angela” has set the bar high.