“If something or someone makes you feel uncomfortable, no matter how minor it seems, you can report it to any member of our staff and they will work with you to make sure it doesn’t have to ruin your night.”
You’ll find this statement written on the poster behind the toilet door of your local club, for the anti-harassment campaign, Good Night Out. Founded in 2014, the initiative aims to help the nightlife economy tackle sexual, verbal and physical harassment and assault. Taking a positive stance, the poster encourages clubbers and party-goers to speak to staff about an issue in order to help them continue to have a good night.
The Good Night Out Campaign delivers specialist training packages to clubs, bars, pubs, festivals and other licensed premises, so that staff, security and managers can all be fully informed on the issues and myths surrounding harassment and how it is reported. They work together to ensure that key procedures are in place in their premises and that everyone understands what harassment is, how they should respond to someone disclosing harassment, how to deal with harassment and how to create an environment that is safe from it. They are endorsed by charities from Drinkaware to the UK’s National Union of Students and are 100% not-for-profit, relying heavily on venue donations.
Have you ever felt uncomfortable by someone else’s behaviour on a night out? With harassment being a prevalent aspect of university culture, this campaign wants to keep the night life safe for everyone. Fabric in London was the first GNO signatory, but there are only two venues in Leeds following suit, so far.
So, we asked Hifi’s Oliver Walkden to explain a little bit about why they decided to get involved.
Firstly, how did you hear about the Good Night Out Campaign?
Following a string of undesirable incidents at the clubs, my boss and I did some research on some schemes we could get involved in, and the GNOC was the first to emerge.
Hifi is only one of the two clubs in Leeds to join the campaign, what made you want to get involved?
We were becoming extremely worried about the number of complaints and comments coming into our inbox the morning after an event, detailing instances of sexual harassment and other types of threatening behaviour. First of all, we wanted to make sure that our staff were properly and officially equipped to deal with these situations as they happen, using the knowledge and techniques provided by the GNOC team. And secondly, we wanted to announce to regulars and prospective customers of HiFi and Wire that they will be entering a safer space when they visit the venues. In turn, potential victims will be encouraged to seek help and perpetrators will have been deterred. Stating our involvement also ensures that all of our staff can be held accountable for any wrongdoing or irresponsibility, which helps to keep our standards of professionalism and customer service high.
How are you bringing awareness to this movement as a club? What new aspects have you implemented?
We have implemented a safer-space policy that is posted on the event wall of our in-house events. The posts we have published on social media regarding our involvement have been met with a really positive and widespread response, showing that it is of great concern to our fans.
Most of your nights appear to target a demographic which is university students. Is this a demographic which you see as affected by the issues the GNO campaign is trying to target?
Yes, we really rely on students for the success of our business, so we want to do our best to protect them when they visit us. Not only are students highly sensitive to issues of diversity and safer spaces, but they are often the most vulnerable too. We are doing all we can to allow them to enjoy music and express themselves in a welcoming environment.
(Main image: change.org)