Vienna swimming pools have come up with stricter security rules to prevent sexual assaults by migrants.
The summer pool season is fast approaching in the Austrian capital and authorities are looking at ways to prevent further sexual attacks by migrants.
The move comes largely in response to a sex attack on a 10-year-old boy last year by an Iraqi asylum seeker who brutally raped the boy and claimed, in his defence, that he hadn’t had sex in months and that it was a “sexual emergency.”
On Monday authorities in Vienna said they had come up with a ten-point plan to increase the security for young children and adults. The new measures include what are called, “first responders,” who will essentially act as security guards, reports Kuerier.
Some 40 of these “first responders” will be trained to intervene in cases where they suspect a child or adult will be, or is in the process of being, sexually assaulted. They will also be trained to de-escalate situations that may lead to violent conflict between patrons of the swimming pools.
The Municipal Baths agency (MA 44) has said that while the first responder workers will act in the capacity of security guards, it should be known that they have not hired private security and that the bathers should deal with the conventional staff if they have any problems. The first responder workers are mostly there to assess the situation and be able to rapidly call police or emergency services as they are needed.
Conventional workers at the pools will also enforce stricter controls on the swimming baths. The staff will be trained to make routine checks on areas in the pools where security cameras are not present, such as changing rooms, to make sure they are both safe and sanitary.
Changing rooms and other areas will also be equipped with silent alarms that workers can use if they find a case of sexual abuse or violence taking place. The age limit for unaccompanied children to enter the baths alone will also increase from seven to eight-years-old.
The rules and codes of conduct at the pools will also be translated into Albanian, Arabic, Persian and Urdu to make sure that migrants understand them. MA 44 chief Hubert Teubenbacher told Austrian press that the public, “has to be aware that the continuous monitoring and a guaranteed safety of all persons in the bath will never be possible,” and wouldn’t comment on how much the project would cost Vienna taxpayers.
Swimming pools have become an apparently favourite place for migrants to sexually assault young girls and boys. Some pools have responded to the attacks by segregating pools, posting plain clothes guards and putting up signs telling migrants how to behave.
Other facilities have attempted to reject male migrants from the pools entirely.
The mother of the 10-year-old boy who was raped in a Vienna pool last year said that the incident made her regret teaching her child to welcome all migrants into Austria. She said of the attacker, “I want him to experience everything in jail that child sex attackers can experience from the other convicts. And then I want him deported”.