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Natacha O'Brien-Howell is the country's first SafeCity Angel (SCA). Working in the Palmerston North CBD, the SCA works with young women to make them aware of the real harm intoxication can bring, as well as how to stay safe in the city.
The SafeCity Angel project is a multi-agency initiative by the Safety Advisory Board and supported by the Manawatü Police, ACC, YOSS (Youth One Stop Shop), SafeCity Trust and the Palmerston North City Council.
The main focus of the initiative is to reduce the harm and victimisation to young women aged 16 - 24 years caused by excess alcohol consumption.
"Time and time again we see young people harmed from drinking too much. You can have a good night out but it's all about drinking responsibly and looking after your mates."
"Know your limits and stick to them. By doing this you protect yourself from harm and can keep an eye on your mates," says Inspector Brett Calkin, Manawatu Police Prevention Manager.
The Angel accompanies SafeCity Hosts and sometimes Police officers on Friday and Saturday nights between 10pm to 4am. Natacha is a youth worker employed by YOSS.
A recent alcohol harm related survey commissioned by the Palmerston North Safety Advisory Board found that nearly half of those surveyed (both men and women) said they had a negative experience while in town on a Friday or Saturday night. The most common negative experience was doing something they later regretted.
"This is a unique concept and has the potential to reduce alcohol harm awareness help young woman keep themselves safe," Inspector Calkin.