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RSM UK launches Safer Dance partnership to help venues tackle sexual harassment risks

RSM UK has launched a new partnership with Subtle Speaks, a community interest company, to help nightclubs and music venues stamp out sexual harassment and other risks associated with the night-time economy.

The ‘Safer Dance’ partnership combines RSM’s Insight4GRC risk management software with ESG (environment, social and governance) and risk consultancy to provide nightlife businesses with the tools to reduce sexual harassment and other risks for both customers and staff. This includes club and festival promotional activities developed following significant experience of working with businesses in the night-time economy.

The concept of Safer Dance was developed by Birmingham City University graduate Sam Hennerley and Jack Young, a music marketing consultant, after they identified a shared ambition to change attitudes to sexual harassment and misconduct in music spaces.

Safer Dance has recently been working with nightlife businesses to explore and consult on their approach to managing sexual harassment risk. This area of risk has attracted high media interest recently which has the potential to negatively impact the reputation of the nightlife sector.

A series of pilots focused on the management of sexual harassment risk have already been carried out with participation from large well-known nightclubs in London, Birmingham and Liverpool.

Paul Callum, associate director of risk assurance, RSM UK, said: “Managing sexual harassment can be challenging for venues, so having a risk management framework provides them, their staff and their customers with the confidence that they take safety seriously. As clubs and venues have emerged from the pandemic, they have faced a whole new world of uncertainty and nervousness among customers, regulators, investors, social agitators and government. Businesses are therefore seeking to formalise and strengthen the management of key risks, and Safer Dance helps progressive business leaders in the night-time economy do that.”

Data from UN Women in 2021 highlighted that 71% of women in the UK have some form of experienced sexual harassment in a public space. This figure rises to 86% among 18-24 year-olds. According to Drinkaware, more than three-quarters (79%) of females think harassment is likely to happen to them or their female friends on a night out.

Jack Young, Safer Dance co-founder and Director of Subtle Speaks said: ‘Through our own research and conversations with clubbers we became aware that sexual harassment is unfortunately far too common at nightclubs and live gigs. Our aim is to instigate a change in attitudes towards sexual misconduct by making information, guidance and support more accessible. Working in partnership with RSM UK to develop Safer Dance has enabled us to develop the tools and technology to help music venues take a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment of both staff and customers, so everyone can enjoy themselves in a safer environment.’

Mark Taylor, head of ESG, RSM UK, said: ‘In creating Safer Dance RSM has supported young entrepreneurs to make their concept a reality. This collaboration highlights our ESG consultancy offering and demonstrates an innovative use of our risk management technology - Insight4GRC. RSM has recently expanded its ESG consultancy with the appointments of Dr Karl George as head of governance and Rich Hall as head of sustainability.’

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