Policy undermines safety of women

How can Sheffield City Councillors vote for a policy on Sexual Entrainment Venues, (SEVs), that completely undermines the position and safety of women?

Monday, 4th December 2017, 6:28 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 12:00 am
Spearmint Rhino in Sheffield.

Sheffield Council has a responsibility under the 2010 Equality Act to have a Public Sector Equality Duty which ensures that women can walk during the day and night safely.

How can the existence of places where men go to watch women strip, a place which offers students discounted rates to come and watch women strip, how does this portray an equal society?

These men then go on to our streets intoxicated making women feel unsafe.

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For years, through many campaigns women have fought for safe streets at night and the right to walk alone without risk of rape and intimidation.

I cannot believe that Sheffield Council can behave so badly in relation to the renewal of its licensing policy.

In December, Sheffield Council “invited” individuals and organisations to give our comments about what they thought about the council’s policy on Sexual Entertainment Venues, as it was reviewing its current policy. Many of us attended meetings with council officials who came up with a proposal that here should be two SEVs in Sheffield ( and in my mind that is still two too many). The council then came up with a second consultation process. I ask why? It said there would be no cap on SEV’s and that anyone can apply to open them in any part of the city.

The consultation time was reduced and then at a committee chaired by a woman, with five white male councillors they voted for an open policy with no cap.

The Licensing Committee was farcical, the barrister had biased research without evidencing any research that has been done over the last 40 years about the roots of sexual violence and exploitation. The barrister could have been the council for Spearmint Rhino! What a waste of time and money all the consultation was. Can’t Sheffield follow other cities who have put a cap on all SEVs and have none in their cities?

Where were the five women councillors who sit on the licensing committee? Only one was there and she was in the chair.

Are all the others not interested in women’s issues, of safety, democracy, or how our streets are made safe for ourselves, our sisters and our daughters?

How spineless is Sheffield City Council?

Ros Wollen

Glencoe Road, Sheffield, S2