“Notorious.” “Too dangerous.” “Overdose-plagued.” Pick up a copy of today’s Daily Telegraph and that’s the description of Sydney’s Home Nightclub you’ll see splashed on the front page.
The story, printed under the headline ‘Medic On The Dancefloor’, takes aim at Home’s decision to hire in-house paramedics to deal with emergencies on site, as well as the “shocking” amount of police callouts to the club over the past two years.
According to the Telegraph‘s story, police were called to the Darling Harbour nightspot “more than 150 times in the past two years,” with 43 drug incidents and 37 assaults contributing to the callouts.
But as Home Nightclub explain, the Telegraph neglected to put those figures in context.
Home owner and director Susannah Page told inthemix that the club sees more than 8000 people come through the doors each week — meaning that over a two year period, at least 832,000 people will have visited the venue. Those 43 drug incidents therefore account for around 0.005 per cent of Home’s total clientele, while the 37 assaults equal 0.004 per cent, and the 27 observed “signs of intoxication” that were reported in that period account for just 0.003 per cent of people who’ve visited the club.
Page also pointed out that Home has had medics in-house for the past twenty years — it’s not a new development, as the Telegraph made out.
“The medic is onsite to help out anyone who needs assistance – from providing a band aid, to treating a sprain, to dealing with heat exhaustion, they’re there for everyone,” Page says. “Patron safety is at the forefront of our business – to us, it just makes sense to put these measures into place.”
“We can’t control what people do outside our venue, but our focus remains on what we can control,” Page adds. “Whenever regulators have asked us to make changes, we have. If we suspect that there is an issue, then we ask police to attend. We will continue to work with NSW Police and regulators to ensure high standards of patron safety.”
As nightlife promoter Kiran De Silva adds, club owners have long been at the forefront of harm minimisation measures. “When it comes to health and safety, we all have the same goal,” he says. “No one who works in nightlife or venues wants to see innocent kids overdose or be the victims of violence.”
And if we’re talking violent venues? In comparison, Home’s Darling Harbour neighbour the Star Casino saw 111 violent incidents in just six months, with an estimated 250 taking place over the course of a year. It’s also worth noting that this number was only revealed after news broke that the Casino had under-reported incidents to police by almost two-thirds.
The casino, which has been excluded from the Government’s violent venues scheme since 2008, also remains controversially exempt from the lockout laws.