UNITY — Information released Jan. 30 on a reported sexual assault of a minor at a small-town arena has prompted the Town of Unity and their recreation department to enact proactive measures. Child sexually assaulted at rink in Lashburn, Sask. - SaskToday.ca
No time was wasted undertaking a response and resulting actions to ensure the safety of people at the rink, most notably children.
A social media post, on the Unity recreation arena page, released Feb. 1 announced parents need to be responsible for their children at all times. The east end of the arena would now only be accessible to players and team personnel only. Adults and children that are not in that category will be asked to leave the area. This includes the Zamboni area (north side) all the way around to the end of the bleachers, south side.
A stern warning at the end of the message said firmly, “The days of letting your kids run free in the arena are over,” with notice to address questions or concerns to Unity’s Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Feser.
Feser said signage is going up reminding rink patrons of the new “off limits” areas for the public. There is a stop sign right before the Zamboni room. Rink staff will be enforcing the new rules with reminders to begin with, but if there are continued problems, people may be asked to leave the rink if not adhering. Feser said they don’t want it to come to that but they must take proactive measures to protect children and will strictly enforce these new measures.
“No longer will kids and/or adults have access to the far east side of the building. There is no reason for anyone other than the team personnel using that room to be down there. No spectators of any age will be allowed back there. Signage will be up soon to help people understand the new boundaries,” says Feser.
Feser also advises staff will do random walk-abouts throughout the building. The arena will be fitted with cameras and the process to install has begun already.
“The most important factor in prevention of any incident is parental supervision. The days of letting kids run free are over,” adds Feser.
Feser met with RCMP, and their advice was to drive home the message parents must be responsible for their kids at all times.
Unity Minor Hockey and the Unity Skating Club also met with Feser, and they will also be addressing their membership with the new rink rules.