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Code word campaign helps people escape bad dates by alerting bar staff discreetly

The scheme has been praised for highlighting problems people can face with upsetting or unsafe dates

Siobhan Fenton
Social Affairs Correspondent
Thursday 20 October 2016 14:06 BST
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The poster has been put up in bars around Lincoln to help anyone feels unsafe on a bad date and who seeks help from staff in a discreet way
The poster has been put up in bars around Lincoln to help anyone feels unsafe on a bad date and who seeks help from staff in a discreet way

A campaign against sexual violence has come up with a genius way of helping people escape bad dates where they feel unsafe.

Posters put up in bars and other social areas by Lincolnshire Rape Crisis instruct anyone on a date which makes them feel upset or unsafe they can go to the bar and ask to “speak to Angela”. The phrase is a code word to alert staff to the situation and help them diffuse it and ensure the person is safe.

The posters advise: “Are you on a date that isn’t working out? Is your Tinder or POF [Plenty of Fish] 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.”

Hayley Child, Substance Misuse and Sexual Violence & Abuse Strategy Coordinator for Lincolnshire County Council, told The Independent: “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.

"Sexual abuse and violence is an national issue and all councils have a responsibility to tackle abuse. This was Lincolnshire Community Safety Partnership's first awareness raising campaign on this issue.

“We have had a really positive response to the campaign, including thanks from victims of abuse for the work that's being done. The campaign has been supported by many professional partners in the county and we will be relaunching #NoMore in February to tie in with the National Sexual Violence and Abuse awareness week.”

A woman spotted the poster in the gender neutral toilets of a bar in Lincoln and posted an image of it online.

She wrote: "I saw this in a toilet and thought it was important and should be a thing everywhere not just lincolnshire".

The poster has since gone viral, amassing over 20,000 RTs on Twitter. The campaign has been inundated with praise as well as calls for it to be rolled out on a wider basis.

One user tweeted: “I think it’s a great idea and could save lives.” Another wrote: “What a great idea! Hope it catches in other places”.

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