This is how the protocols against sexual violence in leisure settings work in Spain

The Dani Alves case has highlighted the effectiveness of the protocols against sexual violence in festive settings. The Barcelona room where the events took place adhered to the protocol don’t callem (We are not silent) of the Barcelona City Council, which implies that the personnel who work in the premises are aware of and trained on sexual violence and how to act against it.

For decades different entities have been working on addressing sexual violence in leisure spaces, but especially in recent years the need for tools to prevent and react to them adequately has been verified, both by the administrations and by the sector itself. .

As a starting point, it must be borne in mind that the procedure for these behaviors should be included in the activity safety plans, but it is essential to point out that their treatment must be specific. We are not dealing with just another crime, not only because the impact that sexual violence has on those who suffer it is much greater than that of other crimes and infractions, but also because its detection is often complicated.

In party contexts there is a process of normalization of some behaviors (as we have also seen at the party after the Feroz film awards gala, held on January 29) that facilitates impunity for the aggressors and leads to justification for his behavior.

Myths about sexual violence are still defended by those who attack and by those around them as truths that support their attitude and exempt them from guilt, placing responsibility for what has happened on the victim. In addition, it is common to identify sexual violence only from the criminal perspective, which leaves out many reprehensible behaviors. If the staff does not have specialized training, it is possible that they do not detect the facts or that they do not react appropriately.

The venues can design their own protocol or adhere to those already created by different administrations. For example, the aforementioned “No Callem” or the “Safety Protocol against sexual violence in leisure environments” of the Department of the Interior of the Generalitat of Catalonia. Some entities also carry out procedures for specific parties such as the “Municipal protocol for care for women victims of sexual assault and other types of sexist violence at the Santa Cruz de Tenerife carnival festivities”. It is essential that the entire process of diagnosis, design, implementation and evaluation is carried out by professionals who are experts in equality, gender and security.

Regarding the content, there are different aspects to take into account, such as prevention, detection, reaction and care for the affected person.


The training of all staff is the starting point to prevent sexual violence. The contents must include different topics such as awareness, basic legal concepts, operating procedures to act in the face of certain behaviors, coordination with other resources and attention to the affected person.

In addition, the commitment against sexual violence must be made visible through posters or messages on social networks. This practice helps to create a safe environment for workers and assistants and can be a deterrent for potential aggressors, who will know that certain behaviors are actively reacted in that room.

The different methodologies for the prevention of insecurity that environmental criminology provides us will also be very useful. It is necessary to analyze the design of the premises and detect the areas that may be at risk and seek solutions to combat them: improve signage and visibility, avoid nooks and crannies, implement technological systems that allow people to ask for help in environments far from the crowd or, on the contrary, excessively noisy, greater presence of staff in certain areas…

Detection and reaction

One of the aspects to include in the protocol is an operating procedure for the staff to act correctly in the event of an attack being detected. Although the reaction will be different depending on who it is – the behavior of the bar staff will not be the same as that of the access control or private security personnel – everyone must know how to act, either directly or by notifying the appropriate person. Good coordination with the security forces and bodies and other resources such as health services is essential.

attention to the victim

The assaulted person deserves the best possible attention from the first moment. All actions must revolve around their protection and well-being. We must respect their rights, their needs, times and decisions. Hence, the training must include how this initial care should be until it arrives or is referred to a specialized professional.

It is also necessary to know what information is especially relevant to transfer it to the police when it is the case and how to preserve possible evidence and the scene of the events.

Finally, it is important to have the so-called “purple points” in the enclosures. These points are static spaces of reference from which information and attention are offered. They must have expert people capable of managing the different situations they may encounter and they must work in coordination with public and private security and health personnel. If, due to the characteristics of the premises, it is not viable, at least there must be a person in charge of the protocol against sexual violence who can also initially carry out the functions of care and accompaniment of the affected people.

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