Smart Serve® Ontario introduces new training on prevention of sexual violence within hospitality settings

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In partnership with the Attorney General of Ontario, Smart Serve® Ontario introduces new course content designed to educate hospitality staff on the danger and prevention of sexual violence and drug-facilitated sexual assault.

Smart Serve® Ontario is strengthening its commitment to the elimination of sexual violence and assault in public places where alcohol consumption is permitted. In partnership with the Attorney General of Ontario, Smart Serve Ontario has launched a new learning module designed to equip bartenders and server staff in the hospitality industry with the education and support needed to recognize and reduce the dangers of sexual violence.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe and protected in our communities and I commend Smart Serve’s ongoing commitment to research, education and other preventative measures that recognize the heightened risk of sexual violence in locations where alcohol is sold and consumed,”said Doug Downey, Attorney General of Ontario. “Through our partnership with Smart Serve®, this new learning module will help teach hospitality staff the skills required to identify and address dangerous situations.”

Adding to previous course content, this new learning module includes an overview of sexual violence and drug-facilitated sexual assault, providing servers and bartenders with an introductory guide on how to recognize the risk of sexual violence, proactively mitigate that risk, and intervene in potentially dangerous situations with staff and guest safety in mind.

Introducing staff to three specific scenarios, including lessons on consent, types of sexual violence and strategies to reduce risks, the new course content is designed to equip staff with the skills needed to act quickly in challenging situations. While this new learning module is a critical step towards reducing sexual violence risk, establishments must still create internal policies and human resource compliance training for managers and employees.

It is clear there is heightened risk associated with the consumption of alcohol and the occurrence of sexual violence and drug-facilitated sexual assault. One out of three women in Canada report they have experienced a form of unwanted sexual behaviour in public. Within bar settings, various observational research studies have reported significant power imbalances between males and females and have found that initiators of sexual violence are more aggressive when they know their targets are intoxicated.

“The safety of our community is always the first priority and it takes collective action to reduce risks and intervene when others are in danger,” said Mary D’Alton, Board Chair, Smart Serve Ontario. “Recognizing the link between establishments that serve alcohol and the risk of sexual violence cannot be ignored. Working alongside the Alcohol and Gaming Commissioner of Ontario (AGCO) to develop this content, more servers and bartenders will be prepared to mitigate risks within any social setting.”

Adding to Smart Serve’s teaching that all personnel involved in the sale or service of alcohol have a Duty to Care for all patrons, this additional module is critical in ensuring Smart Serve continues to be a comprehensive educational tool for the protection of patron health and safety, no matter their age, race, or gender.

For more information on Smart Serve Ontario and the new training module, please go to: http://smartserve.ca/sexual-violence

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