TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) – Free training is offered at bars and restaurants in the Tri-Cities to teach staff members how to spot signs of sexual harassment and assault.
The objective of the “Safe Bar” training program is to locally create a network of secure spaces where employees know how to intervene.
“If you see something, you should say something,” said Brittany Fleenor, community intervention specialist for the Branch House Family Justice Center. The Branch House helps lead the effort at the local level.
The aim of the training is to reduce the risk of sexual assault and harassment in local bars and restaurants by teaching staff to be active spectators and to understand the role of alcohol in sexual assault.
“We know that alcohol is involved in 50% of sexual assaults,” Fleenor. “Our bars and restaurants are places people first meet after meeting someone online, places people go on a first date or even a night out on the town with friends. These are ideal places for sex offenders to isolate and neutralize their victims. ”
The High Voltage bar and the King’s Sport Ax House are the first “Safe Bar” certified establishments in the Tri-Cities. The Branch House hopes there will be many more.
“I really believe that if we could get Safe Bar training for a large percentage of our bars and restaurants, it would reduce the number of drug-facilitated and especially alcohol-facilitated sexual assaults occurring in our community,” he said. declared Fleenor.
“We have a lot of colleges within our community,” said Kaylin Render, assistant district attorney in Sullivan County. “Bars and colleges go hand in hand. We also want to ensure the safety of our young people. ”
Render is a domestic violence attorney and says this training also reduces the liability of bar owners if someone were to be injured there.
“It not only helps victims and the community, but protects bar owners,” Render said.
The training emphasizes the importance of monitoring body language, keeping an eye out for aggression, and knowing when to intervene safely.
“This is to make sure that bar staff and restaurant staff stay alert to these signals and if they feel uncomfortable following their instincts,” Fleenor said.
The Branch House, along with partners from YW CARES, Johnson City / Washington County Family Justice Center, RISE: Healthy for Life and Frontier Health-Safe House have teamed up for the Safe Bar initiative.
Safe Bar is a national, research-based witness intervention training. Sessions are offered virtually and in person for free.
Interested companies should contact Branch House at 423-574-7233 or email [email protected]