Staff member nightlife prevention, coordinator Safe 'n Sound and safer party labels cfr. Quality Nights, Flemish centre of expertise on alcohol and other drugs (VAD), Safe 'n Sound, Quality Nights and other safer party labels
Shawny Vanhoutteghem has been working as a staff member nightlife prevention at the Flemish centre for expertise on alcohol and other drugs (VAD) in Brussels, Belgium since 2020. She is project coordinator of Safe ‘n Sound, a peer support project which focuses on reducing substance related risks in nightlife settings in Flanders. She also coordinates the safer party labels for nightlife venues in Flanders (cfr. Quality Nights etc.). And recently she supports youth organisations and prevention workers in implementing substance related interventions that target youngsters active in local youth movements. She is also integrated in the European Nightlife Empowerment and Well-being network (NEWnet).
In Flanders, the Quality Nights-label has been used for years to create a safe nightlife environment. But recently, the strict criteria to obtain it have become a barrier. That is why the methodology is being made more accessible. No charter, no mandatory services, it is all about the right mindset. The starting point is the intrinsic motivation of organizers and club/bar-owners. Measures have to be tailor-made, and nudging principles can be of great help. The rising awareness about sexual harassment in nightlife also presents us with an interesting opportunity. It broadens the conversation, and motivates organizers and club/bar-owners to not only invest in substance related interventions, but to work on a balanced health policy