Latest: May 5, 2018
Say 'No' to the Rhino
We are fighting for councils around the country to properly implement the law and give communities real control over strip clubs. And we need your support.
The front line for ensuring that councils consider the negative impact on women and gender equality in the community right now is Sheffield where there is no limit on the number of strip clubs that can be opened. One women, Irene, is the claimant we are all supporting in a legal fight against the council with a strip club operator as an interested party.
This case will have ramifications for councils and communities everywhere.
We are supporting Irene's legal action against Sheffield Council to force them to consider the negative impact on all women and gender equality of their unlimited strip club policy. The strip industry has deep pockets and powerful legal teams to bully their way into communities around the country. So we are asking women and men everywhere to come together and help fund this legal action. Please contribute to our fund and share now.
We have been granted permission to have our case heard at trial!
A High Court judge has agreed that our case is of public importance and it is in the public interest to have it heard in court.
Having considered our argument - that the negative impact on all women and the wider impact on gender equality should have been part of the strip club policy formulation process - and those of both the Council and Spearmint Rhino, the court said we have an arguable case that should be heard at a judicial review trial.
This a huge victory and means we are a big step closer to changing the way councils approach licensing strip clubs and making sure that considering both the negative impact on women and the potentially devastating impact on gender equality in the wider community is part of all decision making in this area.
But we need your help to get there.
Who are we?
We are a coalition of ordinary women and men and human rights groups deeply concerned about the impact of strip clubs that are popping up in towns and cities across the country. Spearheaded by pressure group Not Buying It, it includes the The Fawcett Society, Southall Black Sisters and Glasgow Women’s Aid alongside hundreds of activists, victims of male violence, elected officials and sex trade survivors including an ex-lap dancer.
We are united by our belief that the negative impact on women and gender inequality across communities must be considered when policies about strip clubs are created.
This shouldn’t just be a question for women working in the clubs, female customers or vulnerable people - it should be a question about how strip clubs negatively impact women's lives everyday and destabilise the gender equality of communities.
Why is this case so important?
In 2010, many of us came together to change the law to stop strip clubs being licensed like leisure venues - like a coffee shop. New laws were passed that were intended to provide protections to communities when strip clubs were proposed. The reality is this law is simply not being implemented properly.
In deciding on a policy with no limit on the number of strip clubs, Sheffield have said that they only have to consider the impact on women working in the club, women customers or "vulnerable people" in the local area. In fact the Council has a legal duty to consider the negative impact on all women when deciding on a policy like this.
The case is also important because the Council has ignored a lot of relevant evidence about the negative impact on women, in favour of very thin evidence about the risk of lap dancing being 'driven underground' if it doesn't license clubs. If the judge at trial agrees with us that Sheffield's approach was wrong, this will help future councils to get it right when considering their policies and individual applications for licenses.
How much are we raising and why?
Judicial reviews are an expensive process and the other parties have almost unlimited funds.
The Claimant, Irene, who is bringing this case on behalf of women everywhere, is being represented by discrimination specialists Louise Whitfield of Deighton Pierce Glynn and Karon Monaghan QC of Matrix Chambers who are working at significantly reduced rates. Initially we need to raise £10,000, however, as the case proceeds we will likely have to raise more money to cover all costs so our stretch target is £30,000.
Please contribute what you can but most importantly share this page with your friends, colleagues and family to let them know why this case is so important to our communities.
'Time's Up for Strip Clubs' Coalition
May 5, 2018
Say 'No' to the Rhino
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