Kris Stewart said the initiative recognises the importance music plays in bringing about real behavioural change within our community.
“Throughout the music industry we need to start the conversation about change, creating safety in our venues, improving patron confidence and educating people in how to get help,” he said.
Partnering with a small and large venue, The Zoo and The Fortitude Music Hall, the program will be rolled out at two events: Holy Holy at the Fortitude Music Hall (May 20) and The Bronx at the Zoo (May 24).
On Thursday, staff from both venues underwent training delivered by the MATE program, designed to empower people with skills to be proactive in recognising and addressing problematic behaviour in turn preventing sexual assaults and violence.
Shaan Ross-Smith, Director of the MATE Program says "Music intrinsically sets culture, we are connected to its themes and lyrics in a unique and powerful way. We want to consciously consider the impact that the arts has on culture and what shifts we need to make toward a beautiful, safe, equal and inclusive future."
Venue Director of The Fortitude Music Hall and The Triffid, John “JC” Collins noted the importance to his team to make their venues safe for every single person who enters them.
“I applaud the brilliant work QMusic and the MATE team are doing. It’s time to make real change and finally put a stop to any unacceptable behaviour by calling out violence, discrimination, and racism and to encourage people to become proactive bystanders. The venue team and I are committed to implementing the recommendations and being integral in making systemic change.”
The leadership training follows a recent Queensland Government roundtable that QMusic participated in to discuss safety in hospitality and live music venues.
Data presented at the roundtable displayed a 30% increase in reports of sexual-based offences within or around licensed establishments, compared to 2016; sexual assault reporting is itself estimated to be under-reported by as much as 70%.
Made possible by the Queensland Government’s Investing in Queensland Women Grant, the Safe Places trial comes after the successful establishment of QMusic’s Concert Care initiative, which sets ground rules for acceptable behaviour at live music events and festivals.
“This is a fantastic initiative by QMusic, because all women and girls deserve to feel safe in our live music venues,” said Attorney-General and Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman.
After receiving community and venue feedback on the two trial events, QMusic will ascertain whether the framework is effective and hopes that the Safe Places initiative will become accessible across the music and hospitality industries.