Victims of street harrassment can now resort to more safe spaces in Lyon, Source: Depositphotos

Lyon embraces the “Ask for Angela” system to fight street harassment

Lyon embraces the “Ask for Angela” system to fight street harassment

It was initially tested out in one district, but now it will apply to the entire city

The City of Lyon has decided to expand the availability of the “Ask for Angela” anti-harassment system to the territory of the entire municipality after testing it in the 7th arrondissement. For this system to be functional the urban authorities need the participation and collaboration of the small local business establishments.

As such, businesses interested in lending a helping hand to victims of harassment are invited to apply at the municipal website and express their willingness to be part of the program. The City of Lyon will provide support in the process: businesses will receive a kit including posters to distribute on their premises and a sticker for their front window.

Employees will follow free training on how to provide possible victims of street harassment with the best support and protection so that the business premises can also serve as urban safe spaces.

“Ask for Angela” originated in the UK

The initiative known as “Ask for Angela” originated in 2016 in England and was named after Angela Crompton - a victim of domestic violence. The name of the initiative refers to a codeword that people feeling threatened on the street can use to discreetly communicate to the staff that they’re being harassed. It gives them the excuse to leave the anonymity of the open urban space and go into a business venue pretending to be looking for a friend who works there.

The idea is that when the harassers see their victim going into a private business space and being warmly received, they will give up pursuing and stalking the person.

Seeing an “Ask for Angela” sticker lets potential victims know that the staff inside the venue have been trained and are willing to cooperate and provide help, including calling a taxi or the police.

Since 2018, street harassment in France has been punishable by fines ranging from 90 to 750 euros.



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