The Corner Hotel, The Toff In Town and The Croxton Bandroom are among nine live music venues in Victoria who are trialling a new program to quash sexual assault at venues.

The 12-week trial of the pilot program will see venues in the CBD, suburbs and regional centres of Geelong and Ballarat train their staff in recognising and responding to inappropriate behaviour.

The $200,000 program was funded by the Victorian Government and is an initiative from the Victorian Live Music Regulation Roundtable in partnership with the Sexual Harassment Taskforce, established by the Minister for Creative Industries in February 2017.

APRA AMCOS’ Jennifer Gome and the Live Music Office’s John Wardle have supported the establishment and development of the program since initial talks begun in 2015. Gome and Wardle are both standing members of the Roundtable.

Lara Whalley, manager at Richmond’s The Corner Hotel said:

“From our point of view, we think it’s important for all licensed venues to do what they can to reduce instances of sexual harassment and assault.”

The Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Marlene Kairouz, told the ABC: “We’re hearing from the live music industry that it is an issue and it’s certainly something that we want to tackle head on.”

Nkechi Anele of Melbourne nine-piece Saskwatch said boundaries have been crossed at many of the band’s shows.

“For me I’ve had experiences of having really inappropriate things said to me, to being picked up, physically picked up, to being asked if I can kiss somebody and I’ve said no, and they kiss me anyway,” she told the ABC.

Victoria Police Senior Sergeant Brett Meadows told the ABC the program hopes to encourage people to report instances of sexual assault and harassment:

“Let’s get them kicked out, let’s identify them, let’s make them accountable for what they’ve done,” he said.

At the cessation of the 12-week program, it will be evaluated by an independent expert to define whether a there is potential for a state-wide rollout.

Venues in trial

The Corner Hotel

Howler

Revolver Upstairs

The Toff in Town

The Gasometer

The Croxton Bandroom

The Chelsea Heights Hotel

The Workers Club

Karova Lounge