If you’re in an uncomfortable situation on a night out, there’s now a code word you can use to get help.

Just ‘Ask for Angela’.

Gardaí in Donegal launched a local awareness campaign yesterday to make bar staff aware of how they can protect people who want to leave unsafe or uncomfortable dating situations.

This initiative encourages individuals to approach a member of staff in any licensed premises that supports the Ask for Angela Campaign. By asking for Angela, the person is alerting that staff member that they require help and/or are seeking to remove themselves from the situation.

Photo: Garda Siochana Donegal

All establishments that support the ‘Ask for Angela’ Campaign across Donegal will be easily recognisable as they will display the ‘Ask for Angela’ Posters and window stickers in their premises.

The ‘Ask For Angela’ Campaign is a collaboration between An Garda Siochana, The Vintners Association, The Hoteliers Federation and the Joint Policing Committee Donegal. Publicans who are not members of the Vintners Association will be identified in the New Year should they wish to get involved.

Gardaí said: “The importance of this Campaign cannot be underestimated particularly at a time when online dating has reached an all-time peak. This launch coincides with the commencement of the Christmas & New Year Period when socialising is at its optimum.

“It is the aim of all stakeholders involved in this initiative to keep people safe across Donegal and it is intended that the launch of this campaign today will go some way to achieving our objective.”

An event was held in An Grianan Theatre Letterkenny yesterday to promote the initiative.

Gardaí outlined their Advice for Staff using the campaign:
1. Offer to take the person asking for help to a part of the venue not in sight of the public or potential threat (Staff room, Kitchen, toilets) to speak with them
2. Offer to call the person a taxi or assist them in calling a friend/family member to come and collect them
3. Where safe to do so (the person asking for help is out of sight and the staff consider it safe) request the person causing the distress to leave the venue
4. Ask the person in distress what it is they want to do? It might be they just want to alert staff that things are becoming uncomfortable and might need someone to keep watch whilst they collect their possessions from the area where they were seated.
5. Do Not allow the person asking for help to leave the venue in sight of the person causing them distress as this could lead to them being followed out of the venue and placed at higher risk
6. If the person causing the distress becomes angry consider calling the Gardaí for assistance or follow your corporate policy on this issue