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Hospitality has responsibility to protect women

The hospitality sector has a responsibility to ensure women are safe, and consistent measures should be put in place across the industry, a UK-based nightclub has said.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has invested an extra £17.7m (US$21.8m) to tackle violence against women

The comments from Arith Liyange, CEO and founder of The Night Owl nightclub in Birmingham, UK, follow a £17.7 million (US$21.8m) million pledge by London mayor Sadiq Khan to improve accessibility to rescue and support services for women. The funding comes on top of a previous £100m (US$122.9m) pledge to tackle violence against women and girls.

Liyange welcomed the additional investment in women’s safety “considering the spike in violent incidents recently”, and called for venues to adopt consistent measures to better protect vulnerable patrons – including the LGBTQIA+ community.

“As well as the government and the police, hospitality and entertainment venues have a responsibility to ensure the safety of women and anyone else who may be vulnerable or in a dangerous situation while in their venues,” Liyange added.

“Specific schemes, like ‘Ask for Angela’ or the ‘angel shot’ scheme, that allow businesses to support their customers are essential. By making them consistent across venues, women who feel endangered can ask for help more easily. Separate policies, meanwhile, could be confusing for clientele if they differ based on business, venue, or location.

“In every Night Owl location, we operate the ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme so that anyone who feels unsafe can discreetly receive help from our colleagues. Every member of staff is trained to support people who ask for help, whether that’s by providing emotional support, calling the police, or helping them to leave the venue. They are also trained to spot someone who might be in distress and scared to reach out for help.”

The Night Owl club also operates an ‘Ask for Clive’ scheme, to create a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Liyange said: “Our duty of care is our highest priority, and our staff are also trained to support any customers who appear very drunk as we understand they may have been spiked – a situation which has become increasingly common. We offer drinks toppers and spiking test strips to empower our customers to ensure their drink safety.

“We welcome this move to give leisure venues more responsibility to ensure their customers are safe, and we fully support any initiatives to end violence against women.”

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