A new program makes courses available for Victoria’s restaurant, bar and hospitality industry in an effort to end sexualized violence and harassment in the workplace. (Courtesy of Ending Violence Association of BC)

A new program makes courses available for Victoria’s restaurant, bar and hospitality industry in an effort to end sexualized violence and harassment in the workplace. (Courtesy of Ending Violence Association of BC)

Free course on preventing sexualized violence opens for Victoria restaurant industry

Training looks to help employers, staff end workplace harassment

A new resource looks to help the restaurant, bar and hospitality industry in Victoria respond to and prevent sexualized harassment and violence.

A voluntary and free online course called TIPS (Training in Prevention and Safety) is now available for employers, owners, managers, supervisors and employees. The program is funded by the City of Victoria and Canada’s justice department. It was developed after council passed a motion in 2019 on sexualized violence prevention training for employers and staff of bars, restaurants and hospitality organizations. TIPS was developed by Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA of B.C.) and Good Night Out Vancouver (GNOV).

Sexual harassment is widespread in the workplace with two-in-five workers impacted, and the incidents are particularly persistent in the hospitality industry, EVA said in a news release. Bars and restaurants are the top two public places where Canadians report experiencing unwanted sexual behaviour, the association added.

“Prevention measures like the TIPS training are the best defence against workplace sexual harassment,” said Ninu Kang of Ending Violence Association of B.C. “This initiative will show businesses how to create positive workplace cultures that support the health and safety of staff and patrons and prevent sexual harassment.”

The training will see employers and staff learn how to work together to proactively mitigate the risk of sexual violence. The initiative creates a shared responsibility in the workplace, where safety is paramount among managers, supervisors and staff.

EVA said more than half of Canadian women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, with co-workers (at 26 per cent) and customers (at 30 per cent) being the most common perpetrators.

Stacey Forrester, founder and education director of Good Night Out Vancouver, said industry stakeholders have been asking for an online component that covers sexualized violence training, so she’s happy to make it a reality for Victoria establishments.

“Preventing sexual and gender-based violence requires ongoing skill building, and the TIPS online modules are a great entry point for employers and workers to start building these skills.”

Outgoing Coun. Jeremy Loveday said the work was elevated by the voices of survivors and hospitality industry leaders.

“This initiative is a step in the right direction to prevent sexualized violence in Victoria,” he said. “Public safety begins with education, and we are grateful for the collaboration of GNO and EVA to develop this free training for the hospitality sector.”

The TIPS course can be found at endingviolence.mylearnworlds.com/tips.

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