Wagga has been praised for successfully operating the ‘Ask for Angela’ initiative for more than a year.
The program, which has been used in Wagga since May 2017, allows patrons to ‘Ask for Angela’ at a participating venue to send a discreet message to staff to offer help or contact authorities.
The phrase can be used for those who find themselves in a dangerous or uncomfortable situation.
Wagga introduced the idea after the harrowing assault of NSW woman Angela Jay in November 2016 and the tragic death of Warriena Wright in 2014. Both young women were on Tinder dates that turned into nightmares.
The program was introduced in Sydney on Monday morning and Racing Minister Paul Toole said it is a great example of the valuable work liquor accords are doing in targeting alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour.
“This is a really effective initiative which is already operating successfully in Wagga, Albury, Orange and most recently Byron Bay,” he said.
Police Minister Troy Grant said trials throughout the state demonstrated the value in preventing sexual assaults.
“Given the increasing popularity of online dating apps, many people are meeting for dates at bars, clubs and pubs having never met, beyond the screens of their phone or computer,” he said.
“We don’t want people feeling intimidated when they’re socialising in the city, they’re out to enjoy themselves, not feel threatened, and this initiative supports their safety.”
Central Metropolitan Region Police Commander Mark Walton said the situation could be anything from someone on a social media-arranged first date or a couple has at a licensed venue.
“Staff would then seek to discreetly escort that person to safety,” he said.
“It’s important to stress that if a person requires urgent Police assistance they should immediately call triple-zero.”