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Voyeur caught filming teen girl in Butlin's changing rooms - are family changing rooms a good idea?

(31 Posts)
Sunkisses Mon 13-Jan-20 12:08:13

I used to be all in favour of family changing rooms at leisure centres etc (so mother's weren't always responsible for getting kids changed), but now not so sure. Man jailed for filming a teen girl in the Butlin's changing room. I am guessing this was a mixed sex family village style changing area (article doesn't say)? I see voyeur type stories like this at least a couple of times a week. I don't feel at all safe with my DDs in mixed sex changing rooms. Why are so many places getting rid of female-only spaces, and leaving us vulnerable to these perverts?

Beamur Mon 13-Jan-20 12:29:03

Misguided inclusion.
I still think family changing areas are useful though, but this once again highlights predatory male behaviour.
The swimming pool I use has had issues like this. They now have a very visible staff presence at all times. I reported some iffy behaviour once and the staff were on it immediately.
I suspect it's constantly an issue.

boatyardblues Mon 13-Jan-20 12:38:36

The pool near us with a mixed changing village has had huge problems with this.

EverardDigby Mon 13-Jan-20 12:38:54

We had a man caught filming women under the cubicles at our leisure centre last year. Puts me off going there. They were built before camera phones were a thing and are now just not fit for purpose, the walls and doors need to be higher and lower to stop phones coming over the top or underneath.

YourOpinionIsNoted Mon 13-Jan-20 12:42:50

Almost 90% of voyuerism / sexual assaults take place in mixed sex changing areas, in spite of these accounting for fewer than half of all changing spaces.

www.google.com/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/life-style/women/sexual-assault-unisex-changing-rooms-sunday-times-women-risk-a8519086.html%3famp

They aren't safe.

Goosefoot Mon 13-Jan-20 12:51:29

I understand why people want these, in certain situations they can be helpful. In the ones at the pool we use though, I avoid them because they are completely crazy, it seems like the majority of people use them. Teen girls use them, I think because they like the cubicals which they don't have in teh womens. And parents of kids who I would consider old enough to go into the single sex rooms as well.

As a result the whole place is crowded and chaotic, while the men's and women's change rooms are almost empty.

My feeling is the family rooms need more supervision and probably guidelines about who should be using them.

Clymene Mon 13-Jan-20 12:58:57

In the U.K. goosefoot, there isn't a choice most of the time. There are mixed sex changing 'villages' or nothing in all the leisure centres round here

AutumnRose1 Mon 13-Jan-20 13:01:16

What baffles me is why the cubicles aren't floor to ceiling.

Goosefoot Mon 13-Jan-20 13:07:21

Oh, that's interesting. Here they are called "family" changing rooms. They seemed mainly meant to make it easier for men to take kids to the pool or cover the time when a young boy might still need his mom but he seemed too old to go into the ladies with her.

Now though they are the largest part of newer facilities, so I could see them becoming the only option here as well, and phasing out the others. Though some people who don't like their chaos might complain.

I do think there have been a few things contributing to their growth. One being that people seem to expect to supervise their kids to a much later age than they used to. And one being that at least among women, many no longer wish to change in an open change room, even one with only other women. (I don't know if its the same with men.) This is a change, when I was growing up adult women changed and sometimes even showered openly in change rooms, it was only tween and teen girls who were uptight and that was considered part of the unfortunate irrationalities of being that age.

Goosefoot Mon 13-Jan-20 13:09:23

What baffles me is why the cubicles aren't floor to ceiling.

I think this would be a lot harder to clean, and then you'd also need to get air circulation arranged in each cubical. Otherwise they'd get nasty really quickly in the damp.

Actually one of the reasons I don't like the family rooms is that the cubicles gross me out a little.

Kazzyhoward Mon 13-Jan-20 13:11:32

I don't know if its the same with men

Yes, my OH chose his gym based on whether they had cubicles in the changing rooms or not. He says that his current gym has both - an open area at one end and cubicles at the other - apparently most men choose the cubicles and few change in the open area.

Echobelly Mon 13-Jan-20 13:13:01

I think they are a necessity... I hated going swimming with the kids with a passion when they were little and needed help, but family rooms made it a bit less unbearable!

AutumnRose1 Mon 13-Jan-20 13:13:40

I've never used an open changing room since I left school. I think a big part of the problem now is that no one seems to care about privacy when getting changed. I've never understood why we had to change alongside everyone else at school.

re air, I can't see that being a huge problem as the door will be open between uses. If there is gap too small for a phone, that would help.

EverardDigby Mon 13-Jan-20 14:53:01

Every private gym I've visited (and I've visited a lot) has open changing with only a couple of cubicles, and people get on fine. I prefer it as you have more space. DD tends to go into a cubicle though as a self-conscious teen.

Lunafortheloveogod Mon 13-Jan-20 15:01:36

I’ve always wondered why it’s not staff allowing access to family changing.. like if you walk in with dcs they offer you a door code to go through that area vs anyone n everyone, which inevitably here leads to groups of teenagers faffing about in the only spaces big enough for a buggy/wheelchair.

I know not all parents/adults with children aren’t creepily filming others but surely it’s a reduced risk.

Uncompromisingwoman Mon 13-Jan-20 15:24:49

It's so sad that we're losing all the protective mechanisms that kept women and girls (and children) safe. I suppose we'll just carry on with the mixed sex agenda until the numbers of those being filmed and perved on / assaulted is noticed by those in power (maybe when people start demanding compensation). Then perhaps safety will be a priority again?

DuMondeB Mon 13-Jan-20 16:05:07

A man put his head under my cubicle over 20 years ago. First and last time I used a mixed sex ‘changing village’.

At least the phone thing makes it impossible to deny what they are doing - no chance of conviction when it’s your word against theirs (and no CCTV in the change area due to privacy, ironically).

RufusthebewiIderedreindeer Mon 13-Jan-20 16:26:36

dumonde

Same thing happened to my friend, ‘luckily’ for her there was an off duty police officer in the locker area who caught him

Dozer Mon 13-Jan-20 16:40:13

My local leisure centre only has mixed sex swim changing, DC from age 8 upwards who can swim 25m can change and swim unattended. There have been local press reports of voyeurs.

There are single sex sports changing and shower areas, nearby, so theoretically could use those, but I suspect they would allow male bodied people to self ID as women, so not really single sex.

On the other hand, boys aged 8 and over and men were probably more at risk from male perpetrators of crimes when we had single sex facilities than in mixed sex facilities.

There is good staff presence in the changing areas and poolside, which is good.

DreamingOfLivingInAChateau Mon 13-Jan-20 16:48:50

I've stopped using our local pools as they only have a "changing village" in other workds - they combined the male and female changing rooms without really adding many cubicles - the original cubicles are mostly half height anyway and I didn't like using them when they were single sex! mostly used the loos - now there's nowhere that's entirely private - there are the family changing rooms but they are just a few larger - mostly full height- but still with a gap top and bottom - -

they have at least added a few more enclosed shower cubicles - but mostly curtained - again not terribly secure -

this is the pool that supposedly had a £3million revamp - only had combined changing rooms!! pool looked the same - flooring was the same- and the cracked glass in the viewing are was still there - like it had been for the past 5 years---

Imnobody4 Mon 13-Jan-20 17:01:13

From the article OP has highlighted
The judge put him on the Sex Offenders Register and made him subject of a ten-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order which restricts his future contact with children
How can these orders be policed now. I know men have been banned from being near schools etc but now they can visit M&S or leisure centres with impunity. Single sex facilities are the only way of safe guarding.

DuMondeB Mon 13-Jan-20 17:05:08

At my local I take flip flops and wrap myself in a towel and scamper across the foyer to the gym/sports hall changing rooms. Better privacy and warmer showers!

picklemepopcorn Mon 13-Jan-20 17:09:29

Can we ensure only family groups use them? So singletons will be in the usual changing areas, and only groups with children in the family areas?

YourOpinionIsNoted Mon 13-Jan-20 17:40:40

Only works if your pool still has single sex areas. Many now only have the one big "changing village" and no single sex spaces at all.

Sunkisses Wed 15-Jan-20 06:26:36

@Lunafortheloveogod and @picklemepopcorn, what a good idea. Having a separate changing area for those with kids, which you get buzzed through to. Would mean that children would be protected from voyeurs (unless the voyeurs would carry on doing it with their kids present, which seems unlikely). Wouldn't help single women or teen girls who have to take their chances in the mixed sex areas though. I hate that we have to think about all this...

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