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Groping ban doubled for Barwatch-participating nightclubs in Vancouver

Granville Street in Vancouver on Feb. 22, 2020. (Shutterstock) Granville Street in Vancouver on Feb. 22, 2020. (Shutterstock)
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The punishment for groping someone at a Barwatch-participating establishment in downtown Vancouver has been doubled, the organization announced Monday.

Unwanted sexual touching will now result in a two-year ban on entry across all 36 bars and nightclubs that are members of the voluntary program.

"We’re implementing this campaign in order to build an environment in which all staff and guests in our member establishments are safe and can have peace of mind that groping is seen as a serious offence," Barwatch chairman Curtis Robinson said in a statement.

Each incident of groping – which is a form of sexual assault – will also be reported to the Vancouver Police Department.

"This is about sending a message that this behaviour is a crime and will not be tolerated in our bars and nightclubs," Robinson added. "We will co-operate in every way possible with VPD to ensure you are prosecuted."

The previous one-year ban for groping was implemented across Barwatch participants in May 2018, along with equivalent penalties for fighting, harassment and drink-tampering.

Bar and club patrons can also be given a lifetime ban for carrying a weapon into a member establishment and being charged with a violent offence.

The penalties were imposed months after Kalwinder Thind, a young man working at a Granville Street nightclub, was killed trying to de-escalate a fight in January 2018. 

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