‘It’s our business’ workshops begun in Upper Hutt

Press Release – Upper Hutt City Council

Workshops on how to be an ‘ethical bystander’ have been provided to Upper Hutt bar staff to help them keep their patrons safe from sexual assault when drinking. 9 February 2012

‘It’s our business’ workshops begun in Upper Hutt

A partnership between Upper Hutt City Council Community Services and the Wellington Sexual Abuse Network seeks to tackle sexual violence in Upper Hutt before it happens.

Upper Hutt, 9 February 2012—Workshops on how to be an ‘ethical bystander’ have been provided to Upper Hutt bar staff to help them keep their patrons safe from sexual assault when drinking. Upper Hutt City Council has commissioned the Wellington Sexual Abuse Network (WSAN) to provide four workshops to bar, security, and reception staff from the Cossie Club, the Glass House, and 7 Bar. The courses provide training in recognising sexual offender behavior and safe intervention in potentially harmful situations.

WSAN Sexual Violence Prevention Coordinator, Hannah Cranston said, “Bar staff already have good training in crowd management and understand their hospitality responsibilities well. Our workshops help them use this knowledge along with new skills to recognise a potential sexual assault, and take small actions to observe, enquire, and if necessary intervene. This is known as being an ‘ethical bystander.’

“The Council does not want to discourage people from drinking alcohol and having a good time. But when people are drinking, behavior can get out of hand and people can take more risks,” says Upper Hutt City Council Community Development Adviser, Jessica Setu. “These workshops have helped bar staff understand how they can prevent sexual assaults happening inside and outside of their bars, and at the same time enforcing their own intoxication and responsible host policies. No bar in Upper Hutt will serve people who are already intoxicated.”

The workshops, which have been partially funded by the Ministry of Justice to reduce alcohol related harm, educate participants in what a sexual offence is and when it is not possible to give consent to sex under the law—such as when someone is drug or alcohol affected. The workshops provide step-by-step guides to help bar staff recognize when someone is in need of their help, assess their options for safe ways to intervene, and make a decision about what action to take.

The workshops have already led to security staff at one bar taking action to prevent a potential assault on a young woman leaving their premises.

“It’s not about being a hero, putting yourself at risk, or criminalising people who are simply having fun. Anyone can be an ethical bystander,” says Miss Cranston. “It’s about the little things we can do to help someone long before a situation reaches the point of harm. Victims of sexual assault report that they wished someone had stepped in before things got out of hand.”

Visit www.whoareyou.co.nz for more information and to watch a short film about how to be an ethical bystander.


• 29% of women and 9% of men report experiencing “unwanted and distressing sexual contact over their lifetime”.
• 84% of the time in sexual violation cases, people know the offender.
• The Ministry of Justice estimates that 208,000 sexual violence offences are committed against adults every year.
• Police estimate that only 9% of sexual violence offences against adults are reported to them.
• 15 – 24 year olds are most likely to report sexual violence above any other age group.
• Only 1 in 10 sexual violence incidents are perpetrated by strangers against someone they do not know.

— Ministry of Justice: NZ Crime and Safety Survey, 2006

• 95% of victims of reported sexual violence incidents are women.

—Responding to Sexual Violence: Attrition in the New Zealand Criminal Justice System, 2009

For more information on this news release, please contact Hannah Cranston at Wellington Sexual Abuse Network on (04) 801 8975 or Jessica Setu at Upper Hutt City Council on (04) 527 2794.

About the Wellington Sexual Abuse Network

The Wellington Sexual Abuse Network is a collaboration of sexual abuse survivor agencies and an agency working with people who demonstrate harmful or abusive sexual behaviour. The group comprises Wellington Rape Crisis, Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation, and WellStop.

The Network was founded on a joint commitment to the prevention of sexual violence from a community development perspective, focusing specifically on education and preventative strategies for youth that promote healthy sexuality. Our primary objective is to coordinate and support effective primary prevention initiatives alongside complimentary community groups, agencies, and networks on a local and national level.

About Upper Hutt City Council

Upper Hutt City Council is the steward and custodian of Upper Hutt City, providing governance, infrastructure, and community services and resources, and promoting opportunity in the city for business, recreation, lifestyle, and leisure. Upper Hutt City is located 30 km north-east of Wellington City (41°07’34” S, 175°04’06” E) and boasts 70% of the region’s parks and reserves, along with state-of-the-art entertainment and leisure facilities.

For more information on Upper Hutt City and the City Council, go to www.upperhuttcity.com


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