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Officials in Gloucester are hailing the success of a new scheme designed to combat sexual harassment and assault after it was used by a young woman to extricate herself from a potentially threatening situation.
The 'Ask Angela' scheme has been piloted across several regions in the United Kingdom and seeks to provide a discreet environment in which women who feel like they are at risk can alert staff in nightclubs and pubs and get themselves a swift exit from the perceived danger.
It is currently being used by 12 different venues in Gloucester and a recent example is being hailed as a textbook example of the success of the scheme.
Justin Hudson, the owner of Butlers Venue Bar in Eastgate Street in the centre, one of the establishments that is using Ask Angela told Gloucester Live: "Towards the tail end of the night, around 1.30am to 1.45am, I was stood on the door with our door team, I noticed a lad and 'Claire' walking quite happily up towards Butlers with no real annotation whatsoever.
"The lad struck up polite conversation with me and one of the door team. A well-mannered polite lad who had, by all accounts, had a great night out. He was visiting - not originally from Gloucester. Whilst the lad was chatting away, 'Claire' had gone on into Butlers and I was called in."
"In a calm and controlled manner 'Claire' explained she'd been out with friends in Cheltenham, everyone had lost one another - the aforementioned lad was part of their earlier, larger group - they decided to share a taxi home," he continued.
"Claire had became more and more aware of the lad's stance towards her in the taxi. He seemed enamoured towards Claire and the idea they had been 'stranded' was a reason for them to meet.
"He had offered to pay for their way back to Gloucester and 'Claire' could stay with him at his hotel. 'Claire' did at great length state, this was an offer - not a demand - (but she) had felt compelled to go along with the taxi conversation."
"The lad hadn't given her any main reason to think anything sinister was afoot. The lad had mis-read the situation and was seemingly 'assuming'. This was something that made 'Claire' slightly or increasingly uncomfortable.
"Claire had read about #AskAngela, she mentioned to the lad, to come back to Gloucester for a few more drinks.
"The taxi dropped them off and they hotfooted it to Butlers. Claire was intending on getting the drinks in, he was a nice lad after all, but then Asked for Angela.
"Claire knew we operated the #AskAngela scheme, and would be safe. Humbled doesn't even cut it.
"As soon as she said she was serious - and wanted to 'Ask Angela' she was taken through the venue to a taxi rank where our door team waited with her until she got into the taxi safe and sound, the taxi driver was instructed to ensure 'Claire' got in her front door safely."
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