A war of words on adult venues

Consultation responses reveal the gulf in opinion over clubs

New licensing is on the horizon.

HOLYROOD has revealed the gulf in opinions regarding sexual entertainment venues (SEVs), as a licensing regime moves closer.

The Scottish Government last week published the responses to its latest consultation on the licensing of SEVs, with opinions ranging from concerns over job losses through to calls for a national ban.

Local authorities will soon have the option of creating their own licensing regimes for SEVs, as well as having the power to set the number of venues in their area to zero.

There are currently thought to be only 12 SEVs across Scotland, in council areas including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Highland and Aberdeen City.

The recent consultation was on the Scottish Government’s proposed guidance to local authorities on creating their own licensing systems.

Responding to the consultation, the Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership said it “considers lap dancing, stripping, pole dancing and more to be a form of commercial sexual exploitation and therefore a form of violence against women”.

The Women’s Support Project said that SEVs are “based on the eroticisation of inequality and predicated on the notion that women are sexual objects who provide entertainment” and called for a national ban.

But operators of adult venues argued that further legislation was unnecessary.

Licensing lawyer Janet Hood, who represents the Association of Licensed Adult Entertainment Venues, said the Scottish Government has been “targeting a business which is causing no harm, for the sake of appearing to do something on behalf of women”.

“There are no indications, implications, accusations or anything else that there is any human trafficking or sexual exploitation going on in these places,” said Hood.

“They are not aligned to prostitution or any of the other vices the Scottish Government claims to be keen to stamp out.”