CW: sexual assault and harassment 

In August 2017, Safer Venues WA surveyed the music community in Western Australia.

Of 550 respondents, 371 reported that they had experienced some form of harassment in a Perth venue.

That 67.5% is the number Safer Venues are aiming to beat and they need your help to do it.

They’re on the hunt for a General Manager, someone with the drive and leadership to help effect real change across the industry.  They’ll be helping to deliver a vital education and safety program to venues all over Perth.

General Manager hopefuls will preferably hold a valid RSA and Approved Managers ticket, along with a dash of commercial acumen. Tag a business school mate, it might be just their thing.

Rose Kingdom-Barron is the Chairperson for Safer Venues WA and she kindly took the time to chat with Pelican about the important work her organisation does in our community.

Applications close on the 31st of March, so get cracking.

 

(Patrick Roso, Music Editor) What is Safer Venues WA and why was it established? Tell us a little about when SVWA was established and the driving force behind it all.

(Rose Kingdom-Barron) Safer Venues WA (SVWA) is a community-driven initiative working on improving the standards of safety and inclusivity in Perth live music and entertainment spaces. We have identified sexual harassment and assault as serious barriers to people participating in the music industry particularly women-identifying, non-binary, LGQTQI+ and gender diverse people.

 

SVWA formed out of growing community pressure around gender equality – which came to a head in late 2016 when Perth venue the Brass Monkey hung bedsheets from the bar’s exterior with blatantly misogynistic and violent sentences including “You teach her morals, we’ll teach her oral” & “Our couches pull out, but we won’t”.

 

Immediately following this public issue, a grassroots meeting of fem-identifying people in the Perth music industry gathered in SVWA founder Xanthea O’Connor’s backyard and discussed issues and potential solutions for harassment, assault and gender-based discrimination that was rife in the industry. This was happening at the time that the #metoo movement was gaining momentum. Safer Venues WA mobilised as a Perth-specific and music-industry focussed addition to the national and international dialogue.

 

With a smaller and more focussed group in place by August 2017, we pushed out a survey to the music community, which resulted in data from 550 respondents. Findings included:

  • 67.5% of people have been harassed in a Perth venue
  • 35% of respondents have been assaulted – either sexual or violent assault in a Perth venue
  • 2 in 5 respondents said they have left a music event in Perth from a negative experience with harassment and intimidation
  • When witnessing or experiencing harassment or intimidation, respondents were half as likely to go to security than to stay with mates.
  • Gender based discrimination was identified as the second highest perceived catalyst in contributing to incidents of Sexual Harassment and Intimidation.

 

This standard was not good enough. So, we set to work building a non-profit organisation that would approach this issue on a practical, cultural and social level.

 

(PR) What’s the overall goal of SVWA? What does success look like to your organisation and how are you guys going to get there?

(Rose) One of the largest gaps that we have identified is a lack of education, resources and training that venues have access to in the areas of preventing, identifying and managing cases of sexual harassment and assault. As well as a gap in venues understanding and encouraging diversity and equality on a broader level.

 

We are working with our services partners such as the Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) to develop and deliver training modules to venues so that their management, staff, security are all aware of how to stop these issues from happening, spot them, and manage them properly. Part of the success will be evident when venue staff, artists, and audience members are upskilled in these areas – so that venues and the community can facilitate itself more effectively.

 

In order to get there – we will hold consultation meetings with our service partners, music industry, relevant government bodies, police, and wider public to inform our pilot program. We will then roll it out across a small amount of venues to test and measure what changes work best.

 

At the end of the day, we love our city and the music within it. We want as many people to be able to access live shows as possible. The more people that can do this free from harm or any form of discrimination, the better.

 

(PR) Any challenges you’d like to share?

(Rose) The biggest challenge has been operating as a purely volunteer organisation without an income. All of the team members have had other full-time commitments so it has taken a while to put together our findings, upskill and train ourselves in this area, and work towards finalising a program that we can roll out to venues.

Our Program Coordinator, Kate Daniel, has been based at El Grotto for a two-year period as their dedicated Safety Officer – the only example of a venue in Perth that has taken it on themselves to designate a formal role such as this. A great outcome of this is that we are able to use her findings in our pilot program, to prove that educating the venue team, regular safety meetings, ongoing communication with security staff to focus on preventative techniques in identifying anti-social and intimidating behaviour and having considered procedural responses upheld throughout all levels of the venue results in positive changes.

On 17 February 2019, Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman, alongside Women’s Interests Minister Simone McGurk, granted us $60,000 investment over a three-year period, as part of the McGowan Government’s Contemporary Music Fund. This money is a game changer for us in terms of being able to pay for rigorous consultancy, invest in training, research and development for the pilot programs, and expanding the organisation. The funding also ensures we are accountable to an external body in terms of hitting our KPIs, which will be especially helpful keeping us on track.

(PR) How can our readers help?

(Rose) Following Safer Venues WA on Facebook, sharing any posts that are of interest on our site (including our job post for the GM) or contacting us on hello.svwa@gmail.com for email updates. We also advocate for people expanding their own education e.g. there are courses through SARC on how to respond to disclosures of assault and managing vicarious trauma.

We’re all in this together – look out for each other while you are out at shows. Call out bad behaviour, whether it’s from a stranger or a friend, especially if you are as person with more privilege and power to do so.
 What are you looking for in a General-Manager?

(Rose) We are looking for someone driven by the need to change the status quo, lift the standards of venue safety and have the vision and commitment to lead Safer Venues WA into its next chapter. We require a GM that is a problem-solver and able to work collaboratively with our Program Coordinator, Board, service and community partners, and industry to develop, test and deliver the newly funded pilot programs.

The funding will cover relevant training for the GM and Program Coordinator so the role would suit someone motivated to upskill in areas such as sexual harassment and assault response, vicarious trauma management, First Aid and Mental Health First Aid.

The role is currently volunteer for one day a week, so it is imperative that the GM approaches the organisation with a business-minded approach so that we can diversify our revenue streams and eventually turn the GM & Program Coordinator roles into paid positions. Judging from the overwhelming response we have received already from venues, punters, artists, and key stakeholders, we think this will be more than achievable.

 

If you need immediate support, please contact Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) on 1800 199 888 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.