The Crime Victims Assistance Center has adopted a successful training program that helps alcohol servers learn how and when to intervene when they witness signs of sexual aggression.
The Garage Taco Bar in Binghamton was the first local establishment to adopt the Raise the Bar training.
Servers take a 5-hour training course over two sessions that teach them the difference between flirting with mutual interest and when an aggressor is making an unwanted advance.
Then they learn how to observe, identify and respond.
Jennifer Spencer is the Education and Outreach Supervisor at C-VAC
She says early intervention can diffuse a situation before it becomes necessary to throw someone out.
Spencer says, “Identify things before they have time to escalate to that point. We want everyone to be able to those low-level situations and just make sure that people know that the staff has their back. And that way, hopefully, people won’t do anything to escalate that violence and make it necessary to bring in a bouncer or anyone else.”
Spotlight on Court Street is the second business to participate in the training.
Spencer says it’s modeled after a successful, evidence-based program developed by the University of Arizona.
She says another key is to identify key staff to intervene, use a team approach and establish means of communication when the bar or eatery might be crowded, dark or noisy.
Spencer says the training itself is free, although the businesses pay their employees for their time.
She’s eager to have other establishments participate.
You can email her at Jennifer at CVAC.us or call 607-723-3200.