Sexual Violence in the Night-Time Economy: Exploring the Determinants and Health Impacts


  • Elena Trivanovic


Sexual violence, Women, Health, Safety, Impacts, Men, Assault, Night-time economy


Concerns about violent and disorderly behaviour in town and city centres are often associated with what is known as the 'night-time economy' which consists of bars, pubs, and nightclubs. Over recent years sexual violence against women has been recognised as a major public health issue within these settings. Many studies and scholars have found that street harassment is a global social problem, one that has been faced by women for many decades (Kearl 2013). According to the findings, many women, regardless of their demographics, experience public sexual harassment (Kearl and Sharma 2014). Overall, sexual violence in the night economy is considered a normalised part of society which dehumanises the freedom of women’s health and safety. Such behaviours are expected to negatively impact women’s self-worth leading to tragic outcomes. Frequent exposure to sexual harassment is linked to an increased risk of certain mental and physical disorders, however there is a gap in research when examining the long-term effects of sexual violence. The findings emphasise the need of intervening to prevent sexual violence in the night-time economy to improve women's safety and comfort in social spaces. As women continue to experience violence due to their gender, their mental and physical health have significant implications. Although there are laws in place to protect women against sexual violence, the prevalence of sexual harassment against women is still high, meaning more needs to be done to see a difference. Introducing laws which directly tackle men’s behaviours can be a future opportunity for public health researchers to implement, it reflects the importance of prioritising women’s health and safety in the night-time economy. The aim of this research is to explore the determinants and health impacts of sexual violence in the night-time economy. The literature will provide a critical analysis on the current social norms across society from a public health perspective and will allow a greater insight into the problem, furthermore it will aim to evaluate the health and social impacts of unwanted sexual attention; to critically analyse how ‘laddish’ behaviours influence sexual objectification of women; to identify the mental and physical outcomes of sexual violence; and to examine relevant interventions that help to tackle the issue. This study concluded that sexual violence in the night-time economy remains a substantial part of a night out for most women.