STOP ! SV - Staff training on prevention of sexual violence: developing prevention and management strategies for the nightlife workplace

Contact name: 
Maria Àngels Duch Moyà
Project manager
European Institute of Studies on Prevention - IREFREA
+34 971727434
Rambla 15, (2-3) - 07003 Palma de Mallorca - Spain
+34 971213306



Preventing sexual violence in nightlife environments is a key priority across many countries. Therefore, developing evidenced-based prevention programmes and understanding their effect to prevent this issue are critical to address it.


The stop ! SV programme focuses on increasing the capacity of nightlife workers (e.g. bar servers, door staff) to recognise and prevent sexual violence within the workplace, and their ability and willingness to respond through positive bystander intervention.


The stop ! SV training programme incorporates a training of trainers module consisting of a 20-hours training for local stakeholders to be training facilitators and a 2-hour nightlife workers training module, that covers (1) understanding sexual violence in nightlife settings, (2) nightlife and vulnerability, and (3) prevention and response.


A pre and post-test study design and an online three-month follow-up survey were implemented across the three pilot sites. Analyses suggests that the training was associated with a decrease in trainees’ acceptance of sexual violence myths, and an increase in their readiness and confidence to intervene immediately post-training. Follow-up sub-sample analyses provides some indications of longer-term impacts on social norms.


Stop ! SV training is the first to explore impacts of a nightlife-based bystander programme beyond the training session (i.e. three-months post-training) and has demonstrated an associated positive impact on nightlife workers.

Intervention details

Type of intervention
Prevention: Environmental strategy (prevention strategy aimed at altering the immediate cultural, social, physical and economic environments in which people make their choices about drug use)
Problem addressed
Stop ! SV focuses on preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence in the night-time economy (NTE). Recreational nightlife settings are common locations for sexual violence. The often highly sexualized nature of bars and clubs combined with extensive use of alcohol and other drugs, can contribute to sexual violence both towards clients and staff working in the premises. Consequently, Stop ! SV includes a strategy to detect and decode sexual harassment and sexual violence embedded in nightlife practices and involves participants in the implementation of a managing and training programme – training of trainers and training of staff – to prevent and combat sexual violence in the NTE context. The strategy and training programme are designed to engage and support a wide range of partners including industry representatives – industry organizations, venue managers and owners, staff working in premises – government and administration agencies, and civil society organizations related to the NTE.
Intervention setting
Club/ disco/ afters
Target population

The target population of the intervention are young men and women participating in the night-time economy either as clients or workers.

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

As for the strategic target group, the Stop ! SV programme is addressed to the industry representatives, managers and staff working in nightlife premises. The training programme intends to capacitate staff working in the night-time economy, so that they can actively participate in the creation of safer environments oriented to protect both people working in the venues as well as clients participating in the recreational nightlife.

In addition, the Stop ! SV programme facilitates the establishment of a community coalition to enhance networking and collaboration between industry representatives and other key stakeholders (policy and decision makers, prevention professionals, youth organizations and other civil society organizations).

Intervention activities
Training of staff
Community mobilization
Nightlife management
Actions developed during the project include: - Systematic literature review and development of a scientific framework. - Development of the training manual and the modules for training of trainers and training of staff. - Preparation of guidelines for venues and recommendations for youngsters. - Establishment of Community Coalitions in each pilot site (Palma, Coimbra and Prague). - Coach Training. Training of trainers conducted in each pilot site. - Staff Training. Training of nightlife workers conducted in each pilot site. - Broad project dissemination at local/national and international level, through mass media (radio/TV interviews, printed media, ...) and scientific conferences. Preparation of two scientific publications. - Internal evaluation of the piloted intervention (results evaluation) and overall project evaluation (process evaluation).
Theory/evidence behind the intervention

Evidence on what works to prevent sexual violence suggests that strategies to reduce access to and harmful use of alcohol, and/or change social and cultural gender norms may be effective (WHO & LSHTM, 2010). Some evidence suggests that third party (i.e. bystander) involvement can play a role in either the escalation or de-escalation of violence in bars. Although much of this research is focused on male-male aggression (Graham & Wells, 2003), promising findings are emerging of sexual violence prevention through bystander education (Banyard, Moynihan & Plante, 2007). Bystander programmes aim to alter social norms and encourage people to tackle and prevent sexual violence. They do this through promoting norms that protect against violence, and by motivating people to promote these norms through providing peer leadership around preventing sexual violence, and to intervene when they witness such behaviours (Basile, 2015). Therefore, Stop ! SV training programme was designed as a positive bystander intervention.

Moreover, research suggests that to prevent complex harms such as sexual violence in nightlife settings, a series of multi-component actions are required with continuity over time. Stop ! SV programme has adopted this approach and follows a participatory-action research methodology, which seeks to involve key stakeholders (prevention professionals, policy and decision makers and industry representatives) in developing both prevention activity and research. Community awareness and community mobilization (accompanied by other strategies) have proven to be effective in reducing young persons’ access to alcohol and related risks such as violence (Wallin & Andreásson, 2004). Stop ! SV has built a working coalition as a strategy for supporting implementation and sustainability of the programme.
Finally, stop ! SV training programme takes into consideration that a broad range of factors influence individuals’ values and behaviours, several of which are relevant to the prevention of sexual violence in nightlife settings. Therefore, the following wider influences are included as key considerations throughout the Stop ! SV training programme: the socialisation of young people, the role played by alcohol, the sexualization of culture (McNair, 2002; Gill, 2006; Sales, 2016; Orenstein, 2016), and gender identity and relations of power.

Number of people needed
Specific training required?
Yes. A specific training has been developed. A manual and training modules were produced to develop trainers' capacity to train nightlife staff on how to implement the intervention.
Time required to run
Training of trainers is planned to last approx. 20h and is broken down into 4 sessions (1: understanding sexual violence in nightlife settings; 2: nightlife and vulnerability; 3: prevention in action; 4: response). Training of staff - session of 2 hours.
Other resource requirements


Evaluation details

Evaluation type (e.g. process, outcome, cost-effectiveness)
Process evaluation Outcome evaluation Other: Community coalition evaluation
Activities evaluated

- Establishment of Community Coalitions in each pilot site (Palma, Coimbra and Prague).
- Coach Training. Training of trainers conducted in each pilot site.
- Staff Training. Training of nightlife workers conducted in each pilot site.
- Internal evaluation of the piloted intervention (results evaluation) and overall project evaluation (process evaluation).

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

There was a total of 13 Strategic Objectives assessed by the project members. Most of them were fully achieved but some pilot sites had difficulties engaging key stakeholders in the community coalition, having a lower participation of the nightlife industry than expected.

Tasks and activities were implemented as planned and all outcomes produced as expected, except for the post-training online support: the intents on promoting active participation and confidence on sharing experiences of sexual violence situations encountered in their workplace, some participants were reluctant to enter the group and others did not participate as expected.

Besides the activities initially planned and actually implemented, additional actions took place:
- Collaboration with the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Office;
- The Government of the Balearic Islands awarded the Stop ! SV project with the Good Practice in Gender Equality Award;
- In Portugal, IREFREA has applied for and won a project under the "20/20 Centre" supported by the European Social Fund and the Portuguese Government, which will allow the implementation of Stop ! SV in the 23 Cities involved in the project;
- Online dissemination and preparation of additional dissemination materials (graphic poster and guidelines with recommendations for venues, project folders, and additional dissemination video on overall project programme);
- Evaluation of the community coalitions.

Evaluation results (Outcome evaluation)

Stop-sv training has had an associated impact on nightlife workers:
- Pre-training (pre-test), sexual violence myth acceptance was generally low. Overall, compared to pre-training, post-training participants were significantly less likely to agree with sexual violence myths
- Pre-training, readiness to intervene in sexual violence was generally high. Compared to pre-training, post-training scores were significantly improved for nearly all readiness items, and the combined score, suggesting that they were significantly more ready to intervene.
- Pre-test, levels of confidence to intervene in sexual violence or situations where patrons may appear vulnerable was high amongst this sample . Compared to pre-test, post-training mean scores were significantly higher (indicating greater confidence) for the combined score and almost all statements.
- Analyses of the three-month follow-up sub-sample shows that agreement with sexual violence myths was less at post-training and follow-up compared to pre-training; there was a significant difference in agreement pre to post-training with trainees more ready to intervene; and confidence to intervene was high across the three survey stages, with no significant difference across all, or between stages.

Evaluation results (Other)

Community coalition evaluation:
A total of 28 members of the pilot sites community coalitions completed the coalition evaluation survey (13 from Spain; 5 from Portugal; and 10 from Czech Republic).
26 participants strongly agreed or agreed with how much participation in the coalition will benefit professional growth.
Different strategies have been implemented according to local context and needs:
- In Spain, the strategy has been to involve main industry umbrella organizations and assign them a key role, along with the prevention practitioners/academics participating in project development, and then involvement of main administration agencies/departments working in close related fields.
- In Portugal, a coalition has been established creating synergies with previous initiatives working in the nightlife context and engaging the main organization representing door and security staff to overcome the lack of recreational nightlife umbrella organizations.
- In the Czech Republic, since nightlife is less organized than in the other pilot sites, the coalition has been created involving the main NGOs working in the nightlife context and/or addressing sexual harassment and, through them, reach the main industry groups working in nightlife.

Evaluation references

STOP-SV: a training programme to prevent nightlife-related sexual violence (Evaluation Report):

Publication submitted to scientific journal: "STOP sexual violence: evaluation of a community based nightlife worker awareness raising and bystander training programme piloted across Europe" (authors Quigg Z, Bellis MA, Duch M, Bigland C, Ross-Houle K, Kulhanek A, et al)

Coalition evaluation report:
Process and outcome evaluation of the project: