ARLINGTON, Va. – April is recognized as both Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Law enforcement plays an integral role in the investigation of these incidents and works collaboratively with Arlington County Government agencies and community stakeholders in providing victims and survivors with access to support services while holding perpetrators accountable for their actions. In recognition of these important causes, the Arlington County Police Department is sharing information on available resources and programs to help raise public awareness about child abuse and sexual violence.
Expanding Community Awareness of ‘Ask for Angela’ Campaign During Sexual Assault Awareness Month
In recognizing the role alcohol can play in sexual, dating and domestic violence, the Arlington Restaurant Initiative introduced the ‘Ask for Angela’ patron safety campaign to Arlington County restaurants in 2018. The campaign is designed to provide restaurant patrons the ability to discreetly ask for assistance. Whether on a date that isn’t working out, in a situation that doesn’t feel safe, or in an establishment where someone is acting inappropriately, patrons can approach restaurant staff and ‘Ask for Angela’ – a phrase aimed at alerting staff that the patron feels unsafe, intimidated or threatened. Restaurant staff, having previously received training on how to respond when a patron asks for Angela, will help remove the patron from the situation and provide the requested assistance – whether it’s helping to call a friend or family member, securing safe transportation or notifying police. Restaurant staff also receive the Bar Bystander sexual assault intervention training, developed by Project PEACE and the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney Victim/Witness Program.
During the month of April, the Arlington Restaurant Initiative began placing ‘Ask for Angela’ stickers on the doors and windows of accredited restaurants, allowing patrons to easily identify participating establishments. The stickers let patrons know that they can ask for assistance and that the establishments hold patron’s safety in high regards. Currently, forty-eight restaurants in Arlington County participate in the ‘Ask for Angela’ patron safety campaign.
If you or someone you know needs support because of sexual assault, dating or domestic violence please contact any of the following resources available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: Doorways: 703-237-0881, INOVA FACT Department: 703-776-4001, and the Arlington County Police Department: 703-558-2222. Call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing a life-threatening situation.
Wearing Ribbons in Support of Child Abuse Prevention Month
Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of communities working together to strengthen families to prevent child abuse and neglect. Through this collaboration, we can help protect children and produce thriving families. In support of efforts to reduce the incidences and severity of child abuse and neglect in our community, many members of the Arlington County Police Department are wearing blue ribbons, pins and bracelets during the month of April. The public is encouraged to get involved by familiarizing themselves with the signs of child abuse and how to report it. For additional resources, visit the National Child Abuse Prevention Month website.
If you feel that a child is in immediate and severe physical danger, call Child Protective Services at 703-228-1500 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.