Safety buddies could be mandatory at festivals on Vancouver Park Board land
New policy would require festival organizers to provide protection against sexual assault and harassment
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Festival and concert-goers in Vancouver could soon see safety support buddies circulating in the crowds at shows. These people, hired by festival organizers would be there to help protect people from sexual assault and harassment.
On Monday, the Vancouver Park Board commissioners decided they would look into creating a policy that would require festival organizers to implement strategies that protect women and other minorities from violence, assault and harassment at concerts and music festivals held on Park Board land.
Park Board commissioner Catherine Evans proposed the motion, commissioner Erin Shum seconded it, and all other Park Board members supported it.
Speaking to Metro by phone, Shum said people at music festivals deserve to be protected.
“It’s time that our entertainment industry and the municipal government did more to protect patrons from gender-based violence and harassment at events,” she said. ”For too long harassment, groping, non-consensual touching...have been normalized.”
The motion mentions a local organization called Good Night Out Vancouver as an example of a group that is already helping festival organizers make their parties safer for vulnerable populations.
In a recent press release, Good Night Out Vancouver said it is partnering with the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, as well as the Tegan and Sara Foundation, to increase safety at the upcoming Juno Awards.
The Good Night Out street team is trained in non-violent crisis intervention and conflict resolution and will be deployed in downtown Vancouver to help women and minorities with things such as safely finding cabs and public transit when heading home, charging phones so partygoers can stay connected with friends and connecting with police if the team witnesses violent and harassing behaviour.