Night out not going as planned? OzAngel Program to help

L-R Cr Wickerson, Courtney_ Oxford Hotel DM, Oz Angels Founder Shell Pearce, Senior Sgt Kelly Hanlen, Mayor Williams.jpg

Rockhampton Regional Council, Queensland Police Service Rockhampton and local businesses are standing united in support of women feeling safe during a night out.

A brand new, locally run initiative, known as OzAngel, has been introduced across a range of local bars, clubs and hotels in the Region.

Designed to provide businesses with support and resources, OzAngel offers patrons a discreet way to raise the alarm when they feel unsafe.

Rockhampton Regional Council Mayor Tony Williams said a program that helps women avoid a potentially distressing, harmful, or dangerous situation, is absolutely worth supporting.

“It is very concerning when you hear the accounts of women who have experienced threatening or predatory behaviour, as well as unwanted attention, while they are simply trying to enjoy a night out,” Mayor Williams said.

“This is something we all should feel compelled to speak up about and the OzAngel Program could really make a difference in our community.”

Communities and Heritage Councillor Drew Wickerson said the OzAngel Program is one that all local venues should be encouraged to embrace.

“If it is helping women feel safe while out with friends, on a date, or on their own, then engaging in a program like this makes perfect sense,” Cr Wickerson said.

“I really think it could be beneficial for patrons, the proprietors and the community as a whole.”

Queensland Police Service Rockhampton Senior Sergeant Kelly Hanlen said the initiative is fully supported by Police.

“We have been impressed with the number of venues who have registered and provided their support so far, and encourage others to take a stand to help women feel safe in their venues,” Senior Sergeant Hanlen said.

“Everyone in the community deserves to feel safe. It is unfortunate that women still experience such behaviour, but it is comforting to know this program provides them with a safe option out of a potentially dangerous situation.”

OzAngel Program Founder and Coordinator Shell Pearce said while the program is still very much in the early stages, the response so far has been very positive.

“It’s been great to see CQ support this safety initiative with 21 venues already registered, but we would welcome enquiries from all bars, hotels and clubs across the Region,” Mrs Pearce said.

“The service encourages women who feel they are in an unsafe situation to approach the bar staff and ask for an ‘OzAngel’.

“This is the signal for venue staff to arrange for the patron to be escorted from the venue safely and discreetly.

“There is no cost to implement this program and all participating businesses are listed and promoted on our Facebook page.

“We would also like to invite businesses outside hospitality venues to become a “Business Angel” where upon the program can be promoted throughout their workplace.”

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