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More bars and restaurants across country implement “Safer Bars” - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

More bars and restaurants across country implement “Safer Bars” program for staff

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A program created in 2012 is now exploding across the country gaining interest from almost every state in the country.  

Elise Lopez at the University of Arizona is behind the science-backed curriculum to make bars and restaurants safer when it comes to sexual aggression and harrassment. 

The program is called Arizona Safer Bars Alliance and is a partnership with the University of Arizona and Department of Health Services. 

It is five hours of training broken down into two sessions. 

“The first session really focuses on talking about sexual violence, what it is, what sexual aggression looks like in a bar environment,” said Lopez. “We talk about bystander intervention and what that means in a bar environment.”

Lopez said they then teach staff how to recognize the difference between flirting and sexual aggression, and how to watch for cues that might indicate a problem.

“Really what folks should be looking for is ‘How do I feel in this situation, how do I feel in the environment, do I feel comfortable with what is going around me,”’ she said. 

At the Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson the staff is already trained to be more aware of situations and will intervene at a moments notice.  

“Our approach is basically to just interact with that person  that may be showing the signs of hey im not so interested in this person  and we just do a quick check,” said Greg Fogie, the bar manager at Hotel Congress. 

Fogie said people should trust their gut when something doesn't feel right and get help from a staff employee.  

“If you ever feel uncomfortable let us know because we will take care of it,” he said.

The program is currently in New York and Arizona bars and restaurants. 

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