Safe Bars uses innovative bystander education and self-defense strategies to empower DC-area bar staff to stand up against sexual harassment and assault.
As part of a commitment to good service, bars, clubs, and restaurants can build customer satisfaction and loyalty through improved safety. Bar owners, managers, security personnel, and other staff are in a unique position to intervene to prevent sexual assault and create a safe space for their patrons to enjoy themselves.
What’s in it for you?
Bars, clubs, and restaurants trained by Safe Bars reap many benefits.
- They demonstrate to their customers their commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment. A better environment earns more money.
- Their staff has a greater range of strategies to use in addressing unwanted sexual aggression.
- Customers who have positive experiences are more likely to return and to tell their friends. Conversely, even one patron who has a bad experience and takes their friends and leaves can cost a thousand dollars in lost bar tabs over a year.
- In a training, Safe Bars staff facilitates a conversation between you and your staff about which behaviors are okay and which are not in your establishment, laying the groundwork for a formal or informal policy.
- With staff more able to notice and deal with problems early, sexual aggression can be stopped before escalating to the point where you need to file an incident report.
- It’s an easy way to improve your business. And it’s a staff training that you don’t have to plan or present!
- Safe Bars actively promotes bars that have gone through the training. Aggressive social media pushes and materials such as window clings will enhance the bar’s image as a welcoming place and create buzz. Also, you avoid the bad PR that comes with an incident — which we all know can be devastating!
- It’s the right thing to do.
All of our trainings are customized to fit your staff, your business, and its culture. We don’t tell your staff what to do; rather, we build on their skills and experience to create a safer and more welcoming establishment. How do we do that? Read on.
Safe Bars works to
- Increase bar staff understanding of the scope and causes of unwanted sexual aggression;
- Increase bar staff recognition of inappropriate behavior along the continuum of sexual and relationship violence;
- Provide bar staff with the skills needed to respond to such behavior safely and appropriately, whether by stepping in or when asked for help;
- Share with bar patrons safety messages that encourage respect and lets customers know that bar staff are available for help;
- Actively promote bars that adopt safety standards.
Approximately half of all sexual assault perpetrators are under the influence of alcohol at the time of the assault. Unwanted sexual attention, including harassment and groping, occurs frequently in local bars and clubs. Sexual aggressors may use these types of environments as places for selecting, isolating, and even incapacitating their targets.
Bystander intervention is a key approach to preventing sexual violence. Bar owners, managers, security personnel, and other staff are in a unique position to observe and intervene to prevent sexual assault by creating a safe experience for patrons. Bystander intervention programs show increases in both responsive and proactive bystander behaviors. Safe Bars empowers bystanders with skills to:
- Identify high-risk behaviors of potential perpetrators;
- Intervene either proactively or responsively; and
- Overcome barriers to taking action.
Does it work?
Safe Bars builds on the success of similar programs in Arizona and Boston. Research shows that bartenders, bar staff, and young adults who patronize bars are key groups to address in preventing sexual violence. And staff we’ve trained have used their skills right away!
You want in?
If you work at or own a bar, club, restaurant, or other alcohol-serving establishment and you’d like to become a Safe Bar, we’d be happy to come and work with your staff. Contact email@example.com or 301-608-3708 to discuss details.
If you’re a member of the community and want to help us spread the word about Safe Bars, tell us of a bar you think could use this training, or support Safe Bars in any other way, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-441-1129.
Safe Bars is a project of Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) and Defend Yourself.