CAMPAIGNS to call time on the abuse of women and girls are being backed by Rugby Borough Council (RBC).
The council is supporting the government’s Enough campaign to challenge threatening and unwanted attention towards females.
And it has rolled out the ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign at pubs, bars and restaurants in the town centre to offer reassurance to revellers during the Christmas party season.
The campaigns follow a council survey last year to which more than 700 women and girls responded – with three-fifths of them having experienced unwanted attention or harassment in a public place in the previous year.
The Safer Streets survey also asked how safe women and girls feel, and identify specific parts of the borough which raised concerns over personal safety.
Many respondents gave detailed accounts of unwanted attention and sexual advances, and revealed locations where safety was a concern – prompting the council to join forces with Rugby First to target patrols of community wardens and town centre rangers at specific locations.
The council has now joined the Enough campaign, which encourages everyone to play a part in challenging abusive behaviour – be it emotional, physical, sexual or financial.
To support the campaign, the council has joined forces with licensed premises to launch Ask for Angela, which aims to help people feel safe on a night out in the town centre.
The campaign was launched six years ago by Lincolnshire County Council and was named after Angela Crompton, who suffered abuse at the hands of her husband before he killed her in 2012.
Anyone feeling vulnerable, threatened or unsafe at a licensed premises which supports the campaign can approach a member of staff at the venue and ask for ‘Angela’.
A trained member of staff can then offer help – whether reuniting with friends, calling for a taxi or alerting venue security or police.
All town venues which have backed Ask for Angela display posters promoting the campaign, while the council has supplied glass and bottle devices to participating venues which customers can use to prevent drinks from being spiked.
RBC deputy leader and safety spokesman Coun Derek Poole said both the Enough and Ask for Angela campaigns aimed to make visitors to the town centre feel safer while raising awareness of the role everyone can play in reducing harassment and abuse.
He said: “After so many women and girls came forward to share experiences of unwanted attention and harassment, we were determined to take a lead on this issue and work with our partners to be a force for positive change.
“The Enough campaign makes it clear we can all be a part of that change, whether it’s challenging what many men still brand ‘banter’ but women and girls consider threatening and unwanted attention, or educating yourself so you can spot the signs of someone in distress and know where and how to find help and support.
“The Ask for Angela campaign was born out of a tragic case of domestic violence and has now been adopted across the world, with the password ‘Angela’ now helping thousands of people get help when feeling unsafe or vulnerable on a night out.
“We’re delighted so many town centre pubs, bars and restaurants have already signed up to support the campaign and we’re currently exploring ways we can expand Ask for Angela in the borough and work with partners and the community to make it clear Rugby has had ‘Enough’ of the abuse of women and girls.”
Visit www.rugby.gov.uk/angela for more information on Ask for Angela, or to sign up to the campaign.
Visit www.rugby.gov.uk/enough for more information on Enough.