The mother of a 16-year-old girl sexually assaulted in the toilets at a bowling alley has claimed bosses tried to stop her complaining by offering her a free voucher.
The victim was inappropriately touched over her clothing by two boys in the toilets of the Hollywood Bowl in Sheffield while a third filmed it on his mobile phone.
But the girl’s mother condemned staff at the venue for allegedly ‘trying to encourage victims not to make official complaints by offering free passes and vouchers’.
The incident happened on the evening of August 23 when the girl was targeted by three boys at a birthday party in the venue at the Valley Centertainment complex.
South Yorkshire Police detectives, who were called at 9.15pm, said the boys stopped the girl entering a toilet and ‘touched her inappropriately over her clothing’.
The sexual assault took place in the toilets of this Hollywood Bowl in Sheffield (file picture)
Customers raced to the girl’s aid when they heard two other girls screaming in the toilets, and two of the boys managed to run off despite people giving chase.
However, a third boy was stopped by security guards and provided the names and addresses of the other boys when detectives arrived after being called by the venue.
Police said the three boys had been dealt with via a so-called ‘community resolution’, which means they will not be given a criminal record for the offence.
A resolution can often mean an apology, an offer of compensation or a promise to put right any criminal damage. The boys have also been barred from the venue.
Two of the boys managed to run off despite people giving chase, but were later identified
The victim’s mother told The Star: ‘It was only the screams of two other girls in the toilet that resulted in other customers stopping the attack.
What is a ‘community resolution’ and when do police issue them?
‘Community resolutions’ are issued by police for what they describe as ‘low level offences’ without formal criminal justice sanctions.
This could include an apology, an offer of compensation or a promise to clear up criminal damage such as graffiti.
The police officer who deals with the incident will decide if it is appropriate.
The resolutions often take the form of an informal agreement between the victim and offender, and the police cannot enforce the agreed conditions.
‘Hollywood Bowl customers caught and detained the youth filming, but the other two men escaped on foot after other customers gave chase. I now ask that you conduct a formal enquiry into the actions of your staff and management.
‘It is extremely worrying that your staff are playing down these types of incidents and trying to encourage victims not to make official complaints by offering free passes and vouchers.’
A South Yorkshire Police said: ‘We were called at about 9.15pm on Monday, August 23 by Hollywood Bowl in Sheffield to say an indecent assault had taken place at their premises. A teenage girl was stopped entering a toilet by three male youths, two of whom touched her inappropriately over her clothing.
‘The third youth was stopped by security and when officers attended he provided the names and addresses of the other two in the Sheffield area.
‘With the agreement of the victim’s mother, the three youths were dealt with via a community resolution and are barred from attending Hollywood Bowl in future.’
A Hollywood Bowl spokesman told MailOnline today: ‘We are taking this incident very seriously and are giving the police our full support and co-operation with their ongoing investigation.’
He added: ‘We are also conducting an internal review into the incident at the centre.’
The company has not yet commented on the mother’s claim about the vouchers.