Ask for Angela: Leeds to become "safer for all" as women's safety campaign launches
City chiefs have promised to make Leeds "safer for all" as a new campaign aimed at women's safety launches across 500 venues.
From Monday the "Ask for Angela" campaign will launch across 500 licensed premises across Leeds and West Yorkshire with the aim to ensure women know they are safe on a night out.
"Ask for Angela" will allow women and girls across the region to ask bar staff for help if they begin to feel uncomfortable or unsafe in a venue.
Launching as part of the Safer Leeds initiative the scheme, predominantly aimed at women ages 18-35, will be open to all if necessary.
Speaking at the launch Deputy Mayor for West Yorkshire, Alison Lowe vowed that all men involved in "unacceptable" behaviour towards women would be dealt with.
"Violence towards women is unacceptable and all perpetrators will be dealt with." she said "We need men to stop hurting us and we must take our power back and put an end to the toxic masculinity that has put women and girls at risk."
The scheme is one of many being worked upon with the West Yorkshire Mayor's office having now pledged more than £800k in funding towards making the city region safer.
All bars included as part of the launch will see staff specially trained to deal with any situation discreetly and without judgement or fuss.
"Hopefully we are beginning to build a culture across West Yorkshire and particularly in Leeds where people feel that our Mayor is doing what she said on the tin and that is keeping women and girls safe." Ms Lowe said.
West Yorkshire Police, who recently received white ribbon accreditation, recognising workplaces trained to prevent and respond to men's violence against women, are involved in the initiative with Chief Inspector Andrew Loftus pledging to work closely with the Mayor's office to make the region safer.
"I have two young daughters and I want my girls to be able to walk freely throughout West Yorkshire and the country and not have to adapt their behaviour." he said "We want to create an environment where women and girls are free to pursue their lives free from harassment."
Friday, November 12 marks 44 years since the first "Reclaim these Streets" with Coun Al Garthwaite central to the event.
"We haven't solved the problem but what were we 44 years ago?" she said "We were two groups of about 25 to 30 women each walking down the street. Passers by were bemused and nobody understood."
"It was incomprehensible, what were women concerned about? Stay at home or get male protection otherwise if something bad happens it is definitely your fault." Coun Garthwaite explained.
"I wish I could say that attitude no longer exists, it does, but it is changing and we are changing it."
The campaign has promised to have a very visible launch across venues with "Ask for Angela" posters to be prominently visible in windows and doors to ensure women know that they are safe in the venue of their choice.
Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United. With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.