KCHD partners with local bars to keep community safe and promote violence prevention 

The Knox County Health Department (KCHD) is partnering with the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee, the Title IX Office at University of Tennessee, and the Family Justice Center to bring the Safe Bar TN initiative to Knoxville. Safe Bar TN is a network of bars, restaurants, and community organizations working together to prevent sexual violence and create safe nightlife spaces.

“This initiative helps equip bar employees to recognize signs of potential assault or unwanted behaviors and how to safely intervene,” said Amy Rowling, KCHD violence prevention health educator. “We are grateful for the local bars participating in the initiative who are taking important steps to help create a safer community.”

Following certification, participating bars are given a flyer to display and access to drink coasters that can detect the presence of drugs in the beverage. Additionally, benefits for participating businesses include access to ambassadors and trainers for future guidance and promotion from Safe Bar TN’s website and social media platforms.

Training includes FREE, in-person education on bystander intervention and raising awareness about alcohol’s role in sexual assault. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, alcohol is involved in about half of all sexual assault incidents. In these situations, alcohol could be consumed by the offender, victim, or often, both.

Following the launch of the Safe Bar initiative, KCHD has received a substantial response from businesses interested in becoming Safe Bar certified. For those who are interested in adding their names to a list to complete this training, please contact Amy Rowling at 865-215-5170 or email her at health@knoxcounty.org.