Free sexual violence prevention training is now available to Victoria’s hospitality industry through a non-profit society, Good Night Out Vancouver (GNOV).

Following Victoria City Council’s May 13th motion to prevent sexualized violence and build a culture of consent, GNOV will provide three-hour sessions focused on harm prevention and response tools, and bystander intervention.

GNOV’s Safer Spaces program provides tools and skills to prevent and respond to sexual violence in restaurants, pubs, and other venues where liquor is served.

The three-hour sessions will focus on workplace and patron safety considerations, and will be offered from workplace to workplace so coworkers can take the program together.

The sessions will educate people on the risks for perpetuation while giving attendees the tools to mitigate those risks.

Upon completion, businesses will receive a certificate for display, one hour of policy consultation, and access to a digital resource library, as well as additional subsidized training modules.

“Skills to create safer spaces to work and socialize in are essential in a post-COVID community. With reports from sexual assault centres across the province showing how the ongoing pandemic exacerbates inequalities, the hospitality industry now has an opportunity to build prevention into their reopening plans,” said Co-founder and Education Director Stacey Forrester.

“As the hospitality industry looks to a new future, post-COVID, there’s a real opportunity to redefine what a safe space is.”

GNOV is hopeful that the program becomes a mandated workplace training as a condition of liquor licensing something the City must approve first.

The program is subsidized by the provincial government through the Civic Forfeiture Crime Prevention and Remediation Grant Program announced May 8th — a stream of funding mean to targeting crime and turn it into prevention.

Last year, GNOV conducted sessions in the tattoo industry, said Forrester.

“Last year, we focused on the tattoo industry and it was really positive. But we recognize we are brought in on a reactionary basis; it’s a challenging but encouraging process. We [GNOV] hope to be standardized, so we can move away from being a reactionary measure and into a preventative measure.”

GVOS reported that an overwhelming majority of respondents that have attended these trainings have reported that they were better equipped to handle a disclosure of sexual misconduct and felt they could directly make an impact on sexual violence in nightlife.

Applications are open now.

Safer Spaces free online training runs July 5th to April 2022.

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