The all-female Street Angels keeping women safe on nights out in Barnsley

The all-female Street Angels keeping women safe on nights out in Barnsley

Updated: 1 month, 21 days, 6 hours, 21 minutes, 44 seconds ago

Video report by Ben Bason

All-female patrols have been launched in Barnsley to protect women from attacks on nights out.

The Night Angels, who are employed by a local security company, are tasked with finding potentially vulnerable women in the town centre on Saturday nights.

Funded by the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, recruits spend time on the streets, as well as in dark alleyways and car parks to offer support to women who may be struggling.

The Night Angels patrol Barnsley town centre every Saturday night between 10pm and 4am

Alisha Lovelock, one of the Angels, said: "I've personally encountered situations where females have become very drunk and become extremely cold, so they then become almost catatonic and quite vulnerable because they're there, sometimes on their own, no friends.

"I think it's very important that there's somebody there, a bit like a guardian, because there are predators."

The Night Angels say they have already helped dozens of women since the scheme was set up at the end of last year.

The project comes as the latest figures show recorded sexual crimes in South Yorkshire rose by 11% in the space of a year. Violent crimes are up 15%.

Martha Scattergood was assaulted during a night out in Sheffield and is welcoming the new Night Angels scheme

Sheffield student Martha Scattergood welcomes the scheme. She was assaulted on a night out in the city when a stranger touched her inappropriately in the street.

She said: "At the time I didn't really think anything of it, because I kind of thought in the back of my mind this happens to women on a daily basis - this happens all the time - there are other women who've had worse situations than me.

"And it's bad that I did think that, because this shouldn't be classed as a normal situation. Men will walk back home on their own after a night out and not think of anything of it. But the reality is for us women, our first thought is: am I going to get home safe?"

Graham Jones, from the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, says the new scheme is "innovative"

If the Night Angels scheme is successful it could be rolled out in other towns and cities in the region.

Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction unit, Graham Jones, said: "You often get women who've lost their friends, lost their phone, lost their battery, lost their way home, lost their location and really would benefit from a bit of support at that point in the evening.

"There are a number of ways in which that's has been done across the country and I really like this innovative way. A Night Angel sends the right message - this somebody who's friendly and able who can help you out at that point and you get home safely."

The unit is also funding more training for bar staff and working on equipping schools in the county with resources for better education on consent.