The Licensing Act 2003 placed a duty on Local Safeguarding Children Boards, as one of the ‘Responsible Authority’, to carry out statutory duties in respect of safeguarding children at licensed premises. Doncaster Safeguarding Children Partnership is committed to working in partnership with other local authority services, business and organisations to ensure that licensees take the right steps to safeguard children.
- What are the risks to children?
The risks will vary, depending on the type of licensable activity taking place and the age of the children. Young teenagers, if they are underage drinkers, are vulnerable when intoxicated because their judgement is impaired and they’ll probably lose their inhibitions. This could put them in danger of sexual predators, or their physical safety could be threatened by getting involved in fights, drink driving, or walking home alone after drinking.
The behaviour of adults could pose a risk if they are drunk or unable to supervise their children, who could wander off, or get the unwanted attention of strangers. Young children can become frighten if adults are unable to control their actions, and a child witnessing aggressive or violent behaviour could be emotionally or even physically harmed. Remember too that children like to copy adults and may taste or finish off left over drinks (even a small quantity of alcohol can be lethal for a child).
Adults who are working in proximity to children could pose risk if they exploit their position to develop a relationship with a child for inappropriate reasons.
At premises where there is entertainment of an adult or sexual nature there could be a risk of psychological or marl harm. For example, where there is a strip tease, lap dancing, gambling, or if a child is exposed to unsuitable material during the screening of adult films/TV programmes/videos etc in which strong or offensive language or violent behaviour occurs.
- What can Licensees to do to reduce the risks?
- Ensure that all staff coming into contact with children/young people are vetted.
- Train staff to be aware of safeguarding issues.
- Identify at least one member of staff to take a lead on safeguarding.
- Use clear displaying signage so that people are clear which areas activities and time sessions are family friendly.
- Display signage about the laws relating to children and alcohol.
- Operate a ‘No ID No Sale’ policy and use of Challenge 25.
- Ensure that children are not allowed if there is entertainment of an adult or sexual nature.
- Enforce admission rules to classified and display clear signage.
- Use CCTV/security staff to monitor the vicinity in and around the premises event.
- Always take action if you notice a child or young people in a vulnerable situation.
- Train staff on the responsibility of alcohol, including prevention of underage sales.
- Keep and maintain a refusals log.
Business can contribute in a positive way to the community it serves and working in the community puts licensees in a key position to take positive action. Remember safeguarding is everyone’s business and it’s important to work together to make sure that children can safely enjoy the diverse range of leisure, cultural and entertainment activities in Doncaster.
Other useful contacts:-
Doncaster Council - Licensing Service
Tel: 01302 737590
Child Sexual Exploitation Team
Tel: 01302 737200