Councillor Sue McGuire wants “Ask for Angela” campaign launched in Southport

Asking for Angela could save someone from sexual abuse

Just Ask for Angela

Liberal Democrat Councillor Sue McGuire has asked both Sefton Council and Southport BID to follow the lead of Lincolnshire County Council by working with licensees across the Southport and the Borough to roll out the “Hi, I’m Angela Campaign” safety campaign.”

The “Ask for Angela” campaign was launched by Lincolnshire County Council as part of their campaign to tackle sexual abuse with the aim of helping people out of uncomfortable date situations. It works by allowing people to ask for Angela at the bar if they are feeling unsafe or uncomfortable and staff will call a taxi or help them leave discreetly.

Councillor Sue McGuire explained “I think this is such a simple idea that is relatively inexpensive to introduce and which would save someone from possible sexual attack.  More and more people are arranging to meet strangers via on-line applications with everything very much based on trust but personal safety cannot always be guaranteed. The “Ask for Angela” campaign provides a code word that bar staff understand and can react to so that people who feel unsafe can leave the premises.”

Councillor Sue McGuire added “I am pleased that the Council have agreed to investigate via the Neighbourhoods and Partnerships team with the Council’s partner agency RASA. The Council have also agreed to speak to the other local authority areas in Merseyside to see whether they have implemented anything similar.” 

“We can’t ignore domestic abuse” says Cllr Sue McGuire

Thanks to Norwood Ward Councillor Marianne Welsh for highlighting the statistics for domestic abuse which are truly shocking.  Did you know that according to the charity Refuge:

  • 2 women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partner (Office of National Statistics, 2015) – 1 woman killed every 3 days
  • 1 in 4 women in England and Wales will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes and 8% will suffer domestic violence in any given year(Crime Survey of England and Wales, 2013/14)
  • Globally, 1 in 3 women will experience violence at the hands of a male partner (State of the World’s Fathers Report, MenCare, 2015)
  • Domestic violence has a higher rate of repeat victimisation than any other crime (Home Office, July 2002)
  • Every minute police in the UK receive a domestic assistance call – yet only 35% of domestic violence incidents are reported to the police (Stanko, 2000 & Home Office, 2002)
  • The 2001/02 British Crime Survey (BCS) found that there were an estimated 635,000 incidents of domestic violence in England and Wales. 81% of the victims were women and 19% were men. Domestic violence incidents also made up nearly 22% of all violent incidents reported by participants in the BCS (Home Office, July 2002)
  • On average, a woman is assaulted 35 times before her first call to the police (Jaffe, 1982)

As Councillor Welsh says “These figures cannot nor should not be ignored but despite these startling statistics domestic violence is more often than not a hidden crime which goes on behind closed doors with its victims either to afraid or too ashamed to speak out”.

Marianne explained “Domestic abuse is also thought to only affect women and is perceived to be about physical abuse where violence is used or threats of violence against a female partner or ex partner are carried out. But domestic abuse can and does take many other forms. It can be psychological, sexual, emotional and also financial. Plus although women are the main victims it can also be directed at a male by a female partner. There are even elderly men and women who are subjected to regular domestic abuse from members of their own families”.

Here in Sefton, the Council are working to help those who are suffering from domestic abuse to come forward to get the help they desperately need. Sefton Council’s Vulnerable Victims Advocacy Team (VVAT), will help by taking self-referrals from victims requiring advice and/or sanctuary. They can be contacted on: 0151 934 5142.

There is also the National Domestic Abuse Helpline (Freephone) on 0808 200 0247.

No one should have to suffer domestic abuse in any shape or form. It is never ever the fault of the victim, and working with professionals in the field of abuse those affected can make choices and start to rebuild their lives.

MERSEYSIDE POLICE COMMISSIONER JANE KENNEDY COMES UNDER ATTACK FOR “CRONYISM”

Labour’s local Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, has come under attack from the cross-party Merseyside Police Panel which oversees her, for her recent controversial decision to appoint a Labour Liverpool councillor as her Deputy – a part-time position for which the annual full time equivalent rate of pay is £53,000 per year.

Meeting just over a week ago, the Police Panel grilled Commissioner Jane Kennedy and her nominee, Labour councillor Ann O’Byrne about the proposed appointment. Councillors expressed worries that the move smacked of the very “cronyism” highlighted by Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee in a report published earlier in May.

In their report about the proposed appointment the Panel voiced their concerns about the whole recruitment process, stating that “The panel felt it was in the public interest for a new appointment process to be carried out . . . particularly as this position would be remunerated from the public purse.”

Birkdale (Sefton) Lib Dem councillor Simon Shaw is a member of the Merseyside Police Panel and was among those who raised concerns with both Jane Kennedy and Cllr O’Byrne. He said he was appalled at some of the responses given to the Panel:

Cllr Simon Shaw outside Southport Police Station

“In particular, Jane Kennedy quite openly stated in public session that membership of the Labour Party was a key requirement of the position. If that isn’t cronyism, I don’t know what is.”

“I also asked both of them for an assurance that Cllr Ann O’Byrne would be standing down from her current, well-remunerated positions as Assistant Executive Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing on Liverpool City Council. They both refused to give that assurance.”

“In my view the detailed questioning revealed that Mrs Kennedy had simply not thought this through. The post was unadvertised; there was no proper open recruitment process; there is no clarity as to how Cllr O’Byrne can actually “deputise” and there is no financial provision for the post, even though the Police Commissioner agreed her Budget just 3 months ago.”

“That’s why the Panel effectively said ‘Go back to the drawing board”!” added Cllr Shaw.

However, in a snub to the Panel, Jane Kennedy has now appointed Cllr O’Byrne with immediate effect to the 3 day a week position. Pay for the post is £31,800 pa which equates to a full time equivalent salary of £53,000 a year. Taking account of her allowances as a councillor, Cabinet Member and Assistant Executive Mayor on Liverpool City Council, the Labour politician’s total pay from public funds now amounts to £56,000 a year.