Bar Safe (Bar Veilig)

Contact name: 
Lotte Voorham
Da Costakade 45 Postbox 7253500 AS Utrecht, The Netherlands
+3130 2971111



Bar Veilig - voorkomen van agressie in de horeca has been developed in The Netherlands as a part of a broader programme with the objective of creating healthy and safe nightlife settings.


Bar Veilig supports bar owners in reducing aggression in their venue.


Bar Veilig consists of two parts:

  • A discussion with the bar owner about what can be changed in the bar environment (physical environment and policy) to reduce aggression.
  • A training course for bar staff about reducing aggression.

Bar Veilig has been evaluated by means of a pilot study among 11 bar owners and 94 participants.


Bar Veilig is an instrument for reducing aggression in nightlife settings.

Intervention details

Type of intervention
Environmental strategy prevention
Problem addressed
Intervention setting
Club/ disco/ afters
Target population

Bar employees and their manager (bar owners)

Substances adressed
Strategic target group (social agents acting as intermediaries between intervention and target group)

Municipalities will be targeted to implement Bar Veilig in their nightlife settings.

Intervention activities
Nightlife management
A professional from the local authority discusses the lay-out and policy of a bar/club with the owner or manager guided by the "Bar Veilig checklist", which points out issues that could be addressed. A half-day bar staff training course teaches all bar staff how to react to aggression and how to act in order to prevent escalation.
Theory/evidence behind the intervention

Aggression is influenced by 3 factors (Leonard et al. [2003]):

  • Personality: An aggressive personality will be more likely to display aggressive behaviour (this will not be dealt with in further depth).
  • Environmental factors: Various factors in a club or bar can help prevent and regulate aggression.
  • Alcohol: The consumption of alcohol will make people more likely to respond in an aggressive manner (Graham et al. [2006], Bye [2007], Leonard et al. [2003], Lemmers et al. [2005]).

Bar Veilig focusses on the last two points since these are the most feasible to influence through prevention.

The checklist should contain the following issues:

  • A small number of intoxicated people (Lemmers et al. [2005], Homel et al. [1992], Graham et al. [1980])
  • Make it clear that aggression will not be tolerated, create an expectation pattern (Graham & Homel [1997], Graham et al. [2000], Graham et al. [2006]). The neatness and general look of the club or bar is also an important factor in this regard (Graham et al. [1980], Graham & Homel [1997])
  • A high level of comfort for guests (Homel et al. [2004]). This should include enough personal space (Bell, Fischer, Baum, Greene [1996], Lemmers et al. [2005]), good ventilation, temperature control and reasonable noise levels (Homel et al [1992], Graham et al. [1980], Anderson & Anderson [1998]).
  • Guests should not be allowed to hang around near/after closing time (Graham et al. [2006]).

Training should address the following issues:

  • Behaviour of bar staff towards customers can influence aggression (Graham & Homel [1997], Graham et al. [2006])
  • Overly tolerant attitude by bar/club staff is an important factor when it comes to aggression, application of a responsible alcohol serving policy (Homel et al. [1994])
  • Hostile and agressive bar/club staff can provoke aggression (Graham et al. [1980], Homel et al. [1994], Homel et al. [1992])
  • Poor supervision by bar/club staff (Graham et al. [2006])
Number of people needed
1 or 2 (excl. trainers)
Specific training required?
Time required to run
Preparations will involve translation and communication to stakeholders, this depends on local situation. Running the intervention takes about 1 or 2 days a week (depending on the extent to which the handling of emails to all parties can be automated).
Other resource requirements

You need some experienced trainers that know nightlife and problems in nightlife.

Evaluation details

Evaluation type (e.g. process, outcome, cost-effectiveness)
Process evaluation
Activities evaluated

All actions

Type of evaluator (e.g. external consultant, internal evaluator)
Internal evaluator
Evaluation results (Process evaluation)

Bar Veilig has been tested in 3 different municipalities among 11 bar owners and 94 bar staff employees. The results of this pilot suggested a positive effect.Checklist discussion was rated 3.4 on a 5-pointscale.Training was rated 7.1 on a 10-point scale (participants indicated they could deal with aggression in a better way than before the course).

Evaluation references

Voorham, L. & Sannen, A. (2009) Bar Veilig Pilot Rapportage. Trimbos-instituut, Utrecht.