The Cat and Fiddle Hotel in Balmain has made an urgent call for parents to view pubs as refuges for their children in need, after an attempted abduction took place near the hotel.

The inner-west Sydney pub was first alerted to the incident when police asked to review their camera footage, to see if any of it was captured on tape. A 12-year-old girl was allegedly being chased by a man unknown to her in an abduction attempt as she walked home from school. But as she ran towards the pub, the sight of patrons at the pub scared the man off.

Anna Clark, sales and operations manager for the Cat and Fiddle Hotel, said the incident was a good reminder that pubs are safe spaces for anyone to find refuge in – even children.

“It was scary, but a good reminder that there are safe businesses out there. Pubs aren’t the first thing you think of to tell your kids to consider [as a refuge] but it’s a very good idea for them to know that there are businesses that they can run to and they’ll be safe in.”

A few days ago, the pub relayed this message on their Facebook page in the hopes that the local community would impart the message to their kids. After summarising the incident – and the fact that there have been similar ones in the area of late – the post read:

“So PLEASE tell your children, if they ever feel in danger, to come straight in to the pub and seek out one of our staff. They will be safe and taken care of until someone can get there to collect them.

“I’m sure we speak for all the pubs in our wonderful community – and there’s one on virtually every corner!

“Speak to your kids and in fact any young person walking home on their own, show them where we are, tell them what to do. Please stay safe everyone.”

The Pubsafe network

Clark said the response to the post has been overwhelming, with it having been viewed more than 80,000 times, and that many other pubs and businesses in the area have reached out, wanting the community to know that they can also be counted on as safe spaces for anyone feeling vulnerable. It’s led to an idea that the Cat and Fiddle Hotel creating a network of safe venues, called ‘PubSafe’.

“It’s the kind of idea to take over from the ‘Safety Houses’ thing of years ago, which people may not feel as comfortable with kids knocking on someone’s front doors these days.

“But if it’s a pub, it’s actually a very good option, especially in areas where kids walk home from school and their parents might be working – you know there’s always going to be a safe place for your kids to go if they’re worried.”

Any businesses looking to get involved in the Pubsafe network can send Clark a DM via the Cat and Fiddle Hotel’s social pages.

The PubSafe logo

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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