Blueprint for Increasing Safety, Preventing Harm and Giving a SAFE Night Out
Updated: Jan 4
The SAFE Bar Network is guided by a very specific mission, to partner with bars and other alcohol-serving venues to increase safety and prevent harm. We truly believe in the power of these partnerships and have seen the impact – a decrease in uncomfortable and unsafe situations and an increase in employee engagement, morale, and teamwork.
We spent this past weekend with the teams at two of our founding member bars Willie’s & Fieldhouse, in Columbia, Missouri. We led conversations with not only their employees, managers, and owners but their customers showed up to be part of the solution. This comes on the heels of reports of drinks being drugged, hazing involving alcohol poisoning, and a rise in sexual assault on the campus of the University of Missouri. Willie’s and Fieldhouse have working to ensure their bars are safe places to have a drink, celebrate with friends, and connect with others since 2018. Co-owner Kevin Duffy said, “this felt like a good time to invite the community and our customers to be part of the work we are doing to give everyone a safe night out. We’d like to see other bars in Columbia join the SAFE Bar Network and learn the skills to notice when something is not right and intervene to prevent someone from being hurt.”
Since 2018 the SAFE Bar Network has trained over 400 of Willie’s and Fieldhouse’s employees. In September, 110 of their team members participated in training and learned the skills to identify how perpetrators of sexual violence use alcohol as a tool to make victims or potential victims vulnerable. Kevin Fitzpatrick, co-owner of Willie’s & Fieldhouse said, “We realized what an impact the training was making when we started to see security staff intervene to stop people who are making others uncomfortable or bartenders reach out to customers and say ‘do you need some help’. The changes that has made in our organization, with our employees, and our customers has been unbelievable and heartfelt.”
SAFE Bar Network’s training conversation focuses on teaching the employees of bars and other alcohol-serving venues the skills to notice uncomfortable and unsafe behavior, interrupt to help, and create an environment where everyone is focused on a fun, safe night out. As a result of training, 97% of participants know at least one way that they will prevent sexual harassment and assault. Haleigh Harrold, SAFE Bar Network Executive Director, says, “Our training goes beyond individual active bystander skills and focuses on teaching the staff at bars, restaurants, and nightclubs how to have an ongoing conversation about noticing concerning behavior, interrupting effectively, and providing each other support.
SAFE Bar Training conversations are simple, manageable, and they work – but you don’t have to take our word for it. Check out these real-life, Everyday Active Bystanders.
The SAFE Bar Network is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) you can join the team by donating your time, talent, and money to the mission of giving everyone a SAFE Night Out, just click here.
To learn more about active bystander skills check out our blog post, Obstacles. What obstacles? 3 Full Proof Everyday Active Bystander Skills.
Interested in learning more about bystander intervention? Visit our friends at With Us Center for Bystander Intervention.