80% of Gen Z-ers feel unsafe on a night out, and bouncers are a key reason why

When it comes to nights out, we all want to enjoy ourselves – however, most young party goers are worried about being a victim of nightlife harm.

Unless you’ve just turned 18, clubbing probably isn’t up there as a priority for your weekend plans. Once you’ve been a few times, you realise that 9/10 it’s just the same old crappy tunes played from the decks of a DJ whose musical knowledge is stuck three years in the past. So, it’s no surprise that the UK’s party culture is diminishing, particularly amongst Gen Z. Unless you’re absolutely smashed and looking for anything to continue the night, then it’s doubtful a tacky nightclub is where most Gen Z-ers want to spend their evening. 

However, according to new research from Desperados, there’s actually a much more sinister reason as to why young people are steering well clear of traditional nights out. The report found that 80% of Gen Z admit to feeling worried about being a victim of nightlife harm when at a club or late-night venue. Meanwhile, a shocking 83% have experienced night-life harm in some form. According to data that Time Out obtained from the Metropolitan Police, reports of sexual assault in London bars, pubs, nightclubs and music venues were at a six-year high in 2021. There were 207 reports of sexual assault in venues and a further 29 reports of rape

And unfortunately, even those supposedly trying to keep everyone safe are a cause for concern. We all remember our first nights out, filled with excitement that we could finally (legally) waltz into the club, just to be turned away at the door by a bouncer with a Napoleon complex on a power trip for seemingly no reason at all. And if you ever dared to challenge them, you were most likely met with any number of threats, or in the best case, just told to “fuck off”. Sadly, it’s something most of us have experienced at least once, so it’s unsurprising that 66% of Gen Z-ers find door staff intimidating. In fact, almost 1 in 5 would not approach them with an issue due to the ‘body language’ they display.

In response to these statistics, Desperados has announced their Doorperson Diploma, a security staff education programme in partnership with a global training organisation, the Good Night Out Campaign, a program that looks to subversive the negative perception of door staff through education. The diploma was developed with additional consultancy from nightlife industry experts, sociologist Dr Phie van Rompu from the University of Amsterdam, and legendary Berlin door person Smiley Baldwin.

This new module aims to upskill and champion security staff in line with the current nightlife landscape whilst advancing the softer skills required in the role. This is expected to help to reassure the 59% of party-goers who said they’d feel safer on a night out knowing that security staff underwent more in-depth training. Venues across the Netherlands and the UK are already getting accredited by Desperados, and more venues across key European markets to undergo the training as a result of this collaboration.

While programs such as these are clearly a step in the right direction, there’s still plenty more to be done when it comes to ensuring that late-night venues are a safe environment, not just for Gen Z, but for all. And while employees like door staff all play an active role in protecting their venues’ guests, if you’re wondering how you can make an active difference yourself, click here for tips on how to be an active bystander.

WriterChris Saunders