Bruzz: BBNF harm reduction manager interviewed to talk about the Care Team
Bruzz: BBNF harm reduction manager interviewed to talk about the Care Team, a new tool to fight gender-based and sexual violence in Brussels’ nightlife.
In October 2021, the #balancetonbar movement brought to light thousands of testimonies from victims of sexist and sexual violence. Since then, BBNF, with the support of the City of Brussels and Equal.brussels, has been working to improve safety at festive events. Since January 2023, BBNF has deployed Care Teams at festive events and Pauline, Harm Reduction Manager at BBNF, tells us more in a Bruzz interview.
The Care Team project is an integral part of a three-part plan financed by Equal.brussels and developed in partnership with Plan Sacha and Modus Vivendi to counter sexist and sexual violence in party environments. Awareness-raising sessions for professionals, training, risk-reduction toolkits, a preventive and reactive protocol and the "Nothing Without My Consent" awareness-raising campaign were the first tools developed by the Federation in collaboration with its partners. Since January 2023, partygoers have been able to meet Care Teams on-site.
The Care Teams are teams of trained, paid volunteers who provide support to victims while relieving club and event staff who are still insufficiently equipped to deal with such violence. Deployed in Brussels' party venues, these teams of volunteers are trained to deal with victims of gender-based and sexual violence. Party-goers meet them at the entrance to the event during an awareness-raising speech, and can then easily recognise them thanks to their blue and orange "We Care" t-shirts.
The Care Team's mission? To be a reliable point of contact: "Our Care Team actively monitors and prevents violent behaviour, such as harassment, on-site. Thanks to an in-depth selection of volunteers, we ensure that the club remains a safer place. In addition, we offer a reliable point of contact for those who feel unsafe. Our team listens to victims, respects their choices and provides the necessary help accordingly. Sometimes, a sympathetic ear and a glass of water are enough, while in more serious cases, we won't hesitate to involve the authorities," explains Pauline Draps.
In addition to providing assistance to victims directly at the event, the Care Teams are also an effective awareness-raising tool: "The Care Team gives speeches at club entrances which have proved to be very powerful. This initiative allows us to identify people who are showing a lack of interest, which makes it easier for us to enforce club rules and eliminate the authors. The positive feedback received from the public indicates that they feel safer with 'us' around."
In 2022, according to a study commissioned by the municipality of Ixelles and conducted by Egerie Research, 96% of gendered or lgbtqia+ people have already been victims of violence in a festive environment. This alarming figure commits BBNF to continue its work for a safer nightlife, taking into account the intersectional dynamics of discrimination and the violence that results from it.
Brussels By Night Federation responds to the needs of the general public, as well as Brussels nightlife operators - clubs, collectives - for a more inclusive and respectful nightlife.
If you are in the area and/or would like a Care Team for your events, fill in this form and our team will get back to you as soon as possible!