By Kai Stone, Communications and Partnerships at The Good Night Out Campaign

Since 2014, Good Night Out has been on a mission for safer nightlife. We believe that nights out should be about fun and freedom, not fear and we work proactively to support re-education around sexual violence. We know that people working or attending venues, pubs, bars, clubs and festivals hold a wide range of views about sexual harassment and assault, which are usually based on myths created by media bias and social stereotypes. These myths, plus a lack of broader understanding about consent, can lead to deep-rooted victim-blaming attitudes. 

Our goal is to reframe and productively challenge these myths, while providing fact-based alternatives that are relevant to the experience of the nightlife staff in our sessions. Our trainers do not talk down to participants but instead create an open session where reciprocal learning can take place without hierarchy. Despite the serious subject matter, many participants report that our sessions are enjoyable in a way that workplace training rarely is because of how involved they are in the process. We aim for respectful dialogue and an open, non-judgmental approach that builds empathy for others and their experiences. We believe that this is how change is most likely to happen. We want everyone to leave the training session feeling educated, empowered and informed to respond to any incidents that may arise. Sexual harassment re-education, but make it fun! 

Safe nightlife is about community, so when someone experiences rude, creepy or violent behaviour, that’s everyone’s problem. The evening and night time economy faces an unprecedented challenge to deal with the ongoing impact of Covid-19. The social impact of the eventual end of lockdown and social distancing will be huge. Alcohol-related harms often rise during the busiest of times for the industry and unfortunately gender-based violence, including sexual harassment and assault, is no different. As statistics show, many women and LGBTQ+customers, too often can be made to feel that it’s our responsibility to avoid sexual harassment on a night out, rather than harassers responsibility to make better choices and not to make creepy comments, grope, grab, assault or spike our drinks. Of course we should all look out for each other on nights out, but why aren’t the men who disproportionately target women in pubs and clubs given the same safety messages? 

We have already seen new Covid-19 nightlife protocols be exploited to harass customers during the pandemic. Women have reported being stalked after writing their details on very public (on a table by the door or bar for everyone to read) Track and Trace systems. The added anonymity of masks provides yet another barrier to reporting harassment on nights out as it becomes harder to identify a potential harasser and to trust that you will be believed.

This all adds another layer of urgency for us all to sharpen our skills to contribute to the cultural change necessary to eradicate sexual violence from our communities. We are sharing our “Bystander Intervention for Everyone” guide here to hopefully show some practical small but effective ways that you (yes you!) can challenge harassment and assault in a post-lockdown world. 


Basically: someone who responds effectively to harmful behaviour. It's about knowing how to challenge it, avoid escalation, reduce harm, and provide support to a person experiencing any type of harassment or assault. 


Assess the scene. What’s happening? Is it safe to intervene, or should you speak to staff? Avoid words or actions that could make it more dangerous for the person being targeted. If it already seems out of hand, alert security instead. 


Try to ignore the harasser and check in with the person they’ve targeted first. If it’s loud, try a thumbs up or making eye contact. Be neutral and friendly. You’re showing that you’re aware of the situation - not rushing in or taking over. If they don’t need help, then no harm done!


Distract the harasser: derail their behaviour by interrupting it.

  • Start a conversation - about anything!
  • Get in the way. Dance between them or create a distraction 
  • Pretend you recognise or know the person being harassed 
  • Offer to walk away with them or call them over to join your table - give them an ‘out’ to leave a situation


Use neutral body language if directly challenging a harasser.

'That’s not okay.' ‘Stop.’ 

Keep it short and clear - this is not a debate. Aggressive bystanders aren’t helpful, so keep calm. Let the person targeted take the lead on next steps - if they want to be left alone, always respect that!


If you ignore this behaviour because the harasser is someone you know, what message does this send? If you’re challenging a pal about their words or actions for the first time, a one-on-one convo will be more effective than a group or public call out. 

Try: naming the problem, the impact it’s having, and how you think they could change. Be a role model.

If you want any further information on the Good Night Out Campaign please visit their website