York bars to introduce ‘Angel Shots’ safety scheme

Image: Kirti Poddar

A new personal safety scheme called ‘Angel Shots’, designed to aid those feeling unsafe whilst on dates, is being adopted by several bars and clubs in York. The concept will be rolled out in time for Freshers’ Week, with the society responsible for the scheme’s introduction, York Anti-Trafficking Society (YATs), hoping it will lead to a safer environment for incoming and continuing students.

An angel shot is not an actual drink available for purchase, but rather something a customer can order to alert their bartender that they are feeling unsafe. A member of staff will then take an appropriate action according to how the customer ordered their angel shot. If you were to order the angel shot neat a member of staff would escort you outside, order it with ice and a taxi will be called for you, and ordered with lime the police will be called.

The York Anti-Trafficking Society claims that the scheme was developed following the society’s recent focus on cybersex. YATs say that the rise in popularity of dating apps such as Tinder has increased the potential for sexual harassment and abuse resulting from dates, particularly given that dating apps can allow the user to hide behind an online profile, which may be a misrepresentation of who they really are.

Project leader Alexandra Maria Oancea says that the initiative aims to “lend a hand to those who are feeling uncomfortable or unsafe in a situation which should normally be fun, preventing it from escalating into larger scale abuse.”

The angel shots initiative will be publicised through posters displayed in the participating bars and clubs. YATs also intend to create a promotional video during first term, for which they are seeking student volunteers, in order to raise awareness of the scheme.

One history second year student says that they are reassured by the new initiative: “The idea of angel shots will definitely help me to feel safer when out and about in York. It can be nerve-wracking using Tinder and other dating apps as you can never be sure who you’re going to meet. The idea that you’d be able to ask the bar-staff to help you out on a date gone wrong would put my mind at ease.”

Six bars and clubs in York, namely; Club Salvation, Society, Popworld, Flares, Sotano and McKennedy’s, have so far signed up to take part in the angel shots initiative. YATs say that they have contacted all major bars and clubs in the city, and hope that more venues will come on board with the initiative, which they say is a small but crucial step in making York a city in which everyone can feel safe. The society also indicated that YUSU bars were encouraging about the angel shots, but have a pre-existing similar initiative in place.

If you wish to find out more details about the angel shots scheme, or get involved with the campaign video, then you can contact the York Anti-Trafficking Society through their Facebook page.

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