Recently MPs adopted the law on amendments to certain legislative acts of Ukraine regarding the minors’ stay in the catering and entertainment establishments at night. According to the document, children under 16 are forbidden to attend clubs, restaurants and cafes unaccompanied from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Owners of the above mentioned establishments have a right to let minors in only accompanied by a parent or a legal representative. To ensure that visitors have reached the legal age workers of these establishments should check ID documents of girls and boys. In case of violation of the adopted law, owners of entertainment establishments may be fined.

According to the amendments, the fine makes from 20 to 50 tax-exempt minimum wages. In case of repeated violation within the same year, the fine will make from 50 to 100 tax-exempt minimum wages.

Will such ban become an effective measure of education of our youth or will bring new problems? How do  they plan to control the observance of the newly adopted norm? ForUm has decided to ask experts...

Volodymyr Lupatski, expert on political science, executive director of the social research center "Sofia":

- I think that banning minors from visiting nightspots is an attempt to fight certain negative developments, but not at the level of cause, but already consequences. There is certain legal fetishism in our country. They believe that adopting new laws they can solve issues, being neglected for years.

This issue is mostly about how to organize leisure time of teens and to meet their demand for communication and dialogue with mates. I think this law proves that the state does not realize that our society does not have effective socio-cultural policy.

As of today, the social policy of the country is limited to paying compensations and allowances, and the cultural policy - to financing of cultural institutions, while art, artists and cultural projects are ignored. The state should focus not on banning negative consequences, where the commercial sphere fights for its clients and their pockets, but on formation of cultural industries in Ukraine, which can be competitive and commercially viable on the market.

Under our conditions, any prohibitions turn into an instrument for power abuse by law enforcement structures. Before introducing similar bans, we should first restore public confidence in police, courts, prosecutor's offices, etc.

Nelly Verkhovska, psychologist, Candidate of Psychology Science, writer:

- This ban will only motivate teens to overcome it for the sake of self-esteem. Teenagers are bent on self esteem. They are ready to prove to themselves and others that "they are not chickens". And for not "being a chicken" they will break into night clubs and go heavy on everything there. This law seems to be a great support for bribery (owners of nightspots will pay off to inspectors for letting in minors) and for illegal industry of forged documents (ID with older age). Indeed, someone will make hay with this confusion...

A ban for teens is not only a red flag for a bull, but also a goal to reach, meaning the time teenagers could have spent on something useful will be used for overcoming the ban.  What we need is to improve legal supervision over teens' behavior and to teach them to follow social norms of behavior in public.

Serhiy Sobolev, MP (Batkivshchyna (Motherland) faction), member of the parliamentary committee on legal policy:

- If a law has been written for the sake of being written, no doubt it will be ineffective. It is like ban on gambling - it was legally forbidden but there were underground clubs for gambling anyway. If police approaches the matter seriously, the problem will be solved within 24 hours, but if money and bribes take over, the law will fail.

Volodymyr Makeyenko, MP (Party of Regions faction), head of the regulations committee, father of three children:

- Indeed, the Party of Regions faction has supported the draft bill. Moreover, we are thinking about expanding its effect. Drinking establishments work during the day as well, and minors must be accompanied there by parents. When there is no control, teens can make serious mistakes. I read criminal reports of the Interior Ministry and see that alcohol and drugs turn our teens into criminals. We intend to improve the legislation step by step to help our children to avoid mistakes of youth.
Evhen Tsarkov, MP of VI parliament, author of the draft bill:

- Owners of entertainment establishments must bear direct responsibility for minor's stay in clubs after 10 p.m. The control will be carried out by public organizations and police. As the author of the draft bill I wanted to introduce fines for parents as well. If parents let their children stay in clubs after 10 p.m., district police officers should raise question about administrative responsibility. 
Norms of this law have been taken from the legislation of some US states. Even our neighbors in Krasnodar Krai had introduced curfew for minors, and already half a year later law enforcements and public organizations reported positive results: improvement of  criminal situation  and academic progress. Some norms have been taken from soviet times and are based on standard control. Children need eight hours of sleep, meaning at 10 p.m. they must be in bed. The document gives another two hours, till midnight, for accompanied children. However, I've seen those birthday parties for children which last till midnight or later...Such parties turn into booze night for adults.

Marianna Yevsiukova, director of the legal department of the International Women's Rights Center "La Strada Ukraine":

- Effects of any law manifest in practice. Only when the law is applied and observed we will see how effective it is to protect our children from risks. Unfortunately, nowadays it is not safe for children to stay outside after 10 p.m. unaccompanied. There are many troubles teens can get to, including risks of sexual slavery or sex offense. Considering the law from this point of view, I can say that it is a good document.  But if we consider other positions, like children's right, human rights or the  right for free movement, the law limits these rights in a sense.

However, I want to point out that the law impose responsibility for children's stay in nightspots on owners of such establishments. And it means that it is adults who are responsible for children's safety. Thus, adults must be responsible regarding the observance of this law. If it happens, the law will reach its goal.


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