16 Victoria companies sign up for free sexualized violence training, more spots available

16 Victoria companies sign up for free sexualized violence training, more spots available
WatchMore than a dozen Victoria businesses are making a fresh start to combat what advocates call a sexual violence pandemic. Kori Sidaway reports.

For Leopold’s Tavern and other bars and restaurants across British Columbia, Monday’s reopening announcement is offering an opportunity for a refresh.

“It was the right time to do it, there are too many issues in the industry especially in Victoria,” said AJ Schepers.

This year, numerous allegations of sexual violence were tied to bars and restaurants in Victoria. Schepers wants to make sure Leopold’s reopen, is done safely.

READ MORE: Former Chuck’s Burger Bar employee arrested, facing multiple sexual assault charges in Ontario

“I think we’re all going through a moment where we need to check ourselves,” said Schepers.

“I’m not gonna lie and say it’s all changed now that we’ve taken a three-hour course. It’s going to change when we change.”

According to the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, one-in-four women will experience sexualized violence, but only 10 per cent report it to the police.

And according to Statistics Canada, restaurants and bars are some of the top locations for sexual assaults to occur.

But Leopold’s is trying to change that by being the first Victoria restaurant to take part in Good Night Out Vancouver’s free sexualized violence workshops.

“It was eye-opening. It really helped us understand how to deal with difficult situations. There are little things that everyone one of us can do to start changing behaviour,” said Schepers.

In the past few weeks, a total of 16 victoria companies have signed on for the free workshop.

“I was expecting a spike, I think the initial rush was a little unexpected,” said Stacey Forrester, with Good Night Out Vancouver.

“There’s also kind of a span of sectors. It is a majority of hospitality restaurant and bars, but there’s a couple in there that are new sectors for us like a gym and a taxi company.”

The group is prioritizing bars and restaurants, which are now trying to quickly hire staff, but the workshop applies everywhere.

“The root causes of sexualized violence they just show up differently in different spaces,” said Forrester.

For now, as liquor service extends until midnight in the reopening, Leopold’s is putting what they learned in place.

“You’re not welcome if you’re not here to have a good time and treat people with respect and care,” said Schepers.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!