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Home Affairs Committee launches inquiry into spiking

9 December 2021

The Home Affairs Committee has launched a new inquiry to understand better the prevalence of spiking and the effectiveness of the police response to it.

Spiking has traditionally been the term for when alcohol or drugs are put into someone’s drink without their knowledge or consent. In 2021, reports emerged of a new form of spiking that involved individuals being injected in some way without their consent.

A recent poll found that 1 in 9 women and 1 in 17 men in the UK say they have been the victim of drink spiking, and one in three women and one in five men knew someone who had been a victim of drink spiking. Due to the nature of the crime victims may not know what has happened or who did something to them, and may suffer self-doubt about what occurred.

The inquiry will aim to get a better understanding of the prevalence of spiking, the forms it takes and the impact it has had on victims. It will also look at the response of the police and partner organisations, such as night-time industries, universities and third sector organisations, in the prevention and detection of spiking. The Committee will also examine what support is available to victims to report incidents and obtain treatment following incidents.

Launching the inquiry, Acting Chair of the Home Affairs Committee Tim Loughton MP said:

“Spiking is a particularly pernicious act. It is specifically intended to make victims vulnerable and leave them unaware of what is happening to them. It relies on deception, with victims only realising what has happened later and left doubting themselves due to the uncertainty that being spiked causes.

“At present, the prevalence of spiking is poorly understood. That is why as part of this inquiry we have launched a survey to hear directly from victims about what happened to them and how they were supported. We also want to hear from those who have witnessed spiking incidents and have experience in supporting victims so we can understand their perspectives.

“We want to understand what more can be done to stamp this out, but also how victims can be better supported in reporting these incidents and dealing with the long-term consequences on them. We also want to see how police can work with partners in the entertainment sector and other areas to identify more effectively when such incidents take place.”

Public survey

As part of the inquiry, the Committee has launched a public survey to give individuals who have experienced or witnessed spiking the opportunity to explain what happened and what support was provided following the incident.

Members of the public can take part in the online survey here. The deadline for responses is 11.59pm on Wednesday 5 January.

Call for evidence

The Home Affairs Committee welcomes written submissions on the following questions. The deadline for submissions is 12 noon on Wednesday 19 January 2022.

The prevalence of spiking

  • How common is spiking?
  • Where and when does it happen?
  • Who is vulnerable to spiking?
  • Who commits spiking offences and why do they do it?

How spiking should be prevented and addressed

  • How effective is partnership working between the police and others (such as local authorities, the health service, night-time industries, universities and third sector organisations) in safeguarding potential and actual victims of spiking?
  • How effective are the measures used to prevent spiking, including the advice and guidance that is used to train, educate and support those involved in handling this type of crime (such as police officers, nightclub security staff and A&E staff)?
  • What barriers do victims face in reporting spiking incidents and obtaining treatment and support?
  • Are the police doing enough to identify perpetrators and bring them to justice?
  • What role should Government play in tackling this crime?

If your evidence raises any safeguarding concerns about you, or other people, then the Committee has a duty to raise these with the appropriate safeguarding authority.

If you have immediate safeguarding concerns about yourself or someone else, you should contact the Police on 999.

We can’t publish submissions that mention ongoing legal cases – contact us if you are not sure what this means for you.

Signposting

We understand that the issues raised in this work may be sensitive or upsetting. If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this inquiry, you may wish to contact your GP or the following organisations:

Victim Support 08 08 16 89 111

Samaritans 116 123

Further information

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