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Raise the Bar

Raise the Bar involves both outreach/education to local bars on drug facilitated sexual assault (DFSA) and also a bystander intervention training specifically for bar staff giving them the tools to recognize and intervene when they see warning signs of drug facilitated sexual assault.

Goals of Raise the Bar

  • Promote an environment of safety in local bars and establishments selling alcohol
  • Inform bar staff and patrons about DFSA, date rape drugs, and local statistics
  • Create dialog around alcohol impairment and sexual assault
  • Create safe plans in the event someone is drugged or overly intoxicated and therefore more susceptible to sexual assault
  • Promote bystander intervention from bar staff


Raise the Bar volunteers outreached to bar establishments on Franklin Street for the first time in April & May 2013, and again in January 2014, September 2014, and October 2015.  Volunteers include students, graduate paraprofessional staff, full-time staff, and community members who are involved in prevention efforts and have received a specific 60 minute session on implementing this initiative.

Our outreach consists of disseminating general information about drug facilitated sexual assault and offering an invitation to attend bystander intervention training for bar staff. We also enjoyed hearing what bar staff in Chapel Hill are already doing to prevent and intervene in instances of drug facilitated sexual assault.

Bar Staff Training

The training is free for any bar staff (owners, managers, bartenders, hosts, etc.) from local establishments. Interested in bringing Raise the Bar training to your employees? Contact Student Wellness at to set up a 90 minute training.

Raise the Bar hosted a pilot bystander intervention training on Tuesday May 28th, 2013 in the basement of Graham Memorial Hall.  Raise the Bar is included bimonthly as a part of the Chapel Hill Police Department along with North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Division's B.A.R.S. (Be A Responsible Server) training beginning February 27, 2014. These trainings are FREE and open to the public on Monday nights, every other month, from 7-9 pm at 171 E. Franklin Street (Court House / Post Office).

The next date of Raise the Bar can be found on our calendar.

Learn More

Interested in learning more about Raise the Bar? Contact Olivia at

Raise the Bar is adapted from Our VOICE's "Bar Outreach Project" curricula. For more information or to purchase a copy of the curriculum, see their website.

Relevant Research

Graham, K., Bernards, S., Osgood, D. W., Abbey, A., Parks, M., Flynn, A., Dumas, T., & Wells, S. (2014). "Blurred Lines?" Sexual Aggression and Barroom Culture. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 38(5), 1416-1424. Retrieved from 

Graham, K., Osgood, D. W., Zibrowski, E., Purcell, J., Gliksman, Lk, Leonard, K., Pernanen, K., Saltz, R. F., Toomey, T. (2004). The effect of the Safer Bars programme on physical aggression in bars: results of a randomized controlled trial. Drug and Alcohol Review, 23, 31–41.

McKnight A. J., Streff F. M. (1994) The effect of enforcement upon service of alcohol to intoxicated patrons of bars and restaurants. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 26(1),79-88.

Powers, R. A., Leili, J. (2016). "Yeah, We Serve Alcohol, but... We Are Here to Help": A Qualitative Analysis of Bar Staff's Perceptions of Sexual Violence.Violence and Victims, doi: 10.1891/0886-6708.VV-D-14-00047

Van Beurden, E., Reilly, D., Dight, R., Mitchell, E., & Beard, J.  (2000) Alcohol brief intervention in bars and taverns: a 12-month follow-up study of Operation Drinksafe in Australia. Health Promotion International, 15(4), 293-302. doi: 10.1093/heapro/15.4.293