Safer Bars

Contact name: 
Kathryn Graham
Position: 
Senior Scientist
Organization: 
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Telephone: 
+1 519 858 5000
Address: 
Suite 200100 Collip CircleLondon, Ontario, Canada
Fax: 
+1 519 858 5199
E-Mail: 
Summary

The goal of the Safer Bars project has been to prevent violence from occurring in and around licensed establishments and to prevent the escalation of violence.The training programme takes three hours and takes a participatory approach with group discussions, exercises and role-playing. It is a peer learning model because the participants have had experience working in bars and they can learn from each other. The training covers: understanding bar room aggression; assessing the situation; knowing yourself and keeping your cool; non-verbal techniques to communicate with someone who is intoxicated; and responding to problem situations and legal situations. The training is for all bar staff and not just door staff because working as a team is important.The Safer bars intervention had an impact on reducing physical aggression in bars. This effect was most apparent for severe aggression and for moderate aggression with definite intent. Participants of the training session rated the training highly and showed significant improvements in knowledge and attidtudes related to preventing aggression and managing problem behaviour.These findings indicate the potential for a stand-alone relatively brief intervention to reduce severe and moderate physical aggression in bars. The positive response to the Safer Bars training and the significant improvement in knowledge and attitudes indicate that programmes of this type have the potential to be an effective public health strategy for reducing bar-related violence and injury.

Abstract

Characteristics

The project involves a training programme, which takes three hours and takes a participatory approach with group discussions, exercises and role-playing. It is a peer learning model because the participants have had experience working in bars and they can learn from each other. The training covers: understanding bar room aggression; assessing the situation; knowing yourself and keeping your cool; non-verbal techniques to communicate with someone who is intoxicated; and responding to problem situations and legal situations. The training is for all bar staff and not just door staff because working as a team is important.

Evaluation

Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) comparing pre-post aggression for intervention versus control bars indicated a significant effect of the intervention in reducing severe and moderate aggression. This effect was moderated by turnover of managers and door/security staff with higher post-intervention aggression associated with higher turnover in the intervention bars.

Participants rated the training very highly and showed significant improvements in knowledge and attitudes related to preventing aggression and managing problem behaviour. In multivariate analyses, being male, having more years of experience, being a manager or bartender and being employed at a city-centre bar were all independent predictors of higher pre-test training scores; however, only being a manager and being employed at a city-centre bar significantly predicted higher scores on post-test knowledge and attitudes.

Conclusion

The findings indicate the potential for a stand-alone relatively brief intervention to reduce severe and moderate physical aggression in bars. The positive response to the Safer Bars training and the significant improvement in knowledge and attitudes indicate that programmes of this type have the potential to be an effective public health strategy for reducing bar-related violence and injury.

Intervention details

Type of intervention
Harm reduction
Problem addressed
Alcohol, Violence, Aggression
Intervention setting
Bar
Club/disco/afters
Target population

Vistors in bars: men and women.

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

Staff (e.g. door staff, bar staff), managers, owners of bars: men and women.

Intervention activities
Training of staff
Actions
Training bar staff: 3hrsrisk assessment workbook
Theory/evidence behind the intervention

Research to identify common types of incidents of aggression, and staff behaviours contributing to aggression, as well as examples of staff behaviour that are effective in avoiding and diffusing aggression. In addition, the training protocol uses theoretical and empirical research from social psychology on factors that affect aggressive behaviour (e.g. personal space & body language) and techniques developed for police offciers and others who work with violent individuals.

Number of people needed
One trainer
Specific training required?
Structured training guide (see theories)
Time required to run
One time, 3 hrs
Other resource requirements

Workbook, overheads, video clips.

Evaluation details

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

Training

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

The Safer bars intervention had an impact on reducing physical aggression in bars. This effect was most apparent for severe aggression and for moderate aggression with definite intent.

Second evaluation: Participants of the training rated the training highly and showed significant improvements in knowledge and attitudes related to preventing aggression and managing problem behaviour.

Evaluation results (Other)

The goal of the 'Safer Bars' project has been to prevent violence from occurring in and around licensed establishments and to prevent the escalation of violence.The training programme takes three hours and it is very much a participatory approach with group discussions, exercises and role-playing. It is a 'peer learning' model because the participants have had experience working in bars and they can learn from each other. The training covers understanding bar room aggression; assessing the situation; knowing yourself and keeping your cool; non-verbal techniques to communicate with someone who is intoxicated; and responding to problem situations and legal situations. The training is for all bar staff and not just door staff because working as a team is important.The Safer bars intervention had an impact on reducing physical aggression in bars. This effect was most apparent for severe aggression and for moderate aggression with definite intent. Participants of the training rated the training highly and showed significant improvements in knowledge and attidtudes related to preventing aggression and managing problem behaviour.These findings indicate the potential for a stand-alone relatively brief intervention to reduse severe and moderate physical aggression in bars. The positive respons to the Safer Bars training and the significant improvement in knowledge and attitudes.

Evaluation references

Graham, K et al (2004). The effect of the Safer Bars Program on Physical Aggression in Bars: results of a randomised control trial, Alcohol and Drug Review, 23 (1), pp. 31-41.

An abstract for this journal article can be found in the HNT literature section here.

Graham, K et al (2005). Training bar staff in preventing and managing aggression in licensed premises, Journal of Substance Use, 10 (1), pp. 48-61.

An abstract for this journal article can be found in the HNT literature section here.

Last update: April 2016

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