Written evidence submitted by Dawn Dines, Founder of Stamp Out Spiking CIC (SPI0010)




  1. Stamp Out Spiking is aware - both through overwhelming anecdotal evidence and the original quantitative research we have undertaken - that the vast majority of spiking victims (our research says 97%) never report the incident to police. There are a variety of reasons for this, but it means all official statistics about the extent of the crime are hugely understated. Details of the research are given in this submission.


  1. We are also aware that victims of spiking go well beyond any particular demographic - yes, they can be young females spiked as a facilitator of sexual assault, but victims are of all ages, genders and other demographic factors, and the perpetrators’ motivations can include robbery, assault, revenge and humilatation. In many cases the consequences are awful, both physical end emotional, and victims often suffer in silence for years.


  1. We conclude by recommending 7 actions that are viable and, we believe, would make a tangible impact on tackling this issue.




  1. My name is Dawn Dines and I have been campaigning since 2005 against drink spiking. I am the founder of the nonprofit Stamp Out Spiking, which was established to tackle the increasing incidents of drink spiking in the UK. It was founded by a team with professional experience in areas such as alcohol awareness workshops and the welfare of young people.


  1. Stamp Out Spiking has developed and launched StopTopps, an innovative drink protector designed to deter drink spiking.


  1. Drink spiking is a hugely under-reported problem that affects people all over the world. Spiking comes in many forms. It can consist of not only drugs being placed into a drink, but also extra alcohol without the person's knowledge or consent and sadly, the most recent method is by injection. We exist to highlight the dangers of spiking, and offer effective and practical solutions to keep individuals safe in pubs, clubs, parties, festivals and beyond.



How common is spiking?

  1. Unfortunately, it’s virtually impossible to establish the true scale of the issue right now. Crime statistics from Freedom of Information requests paint an incomplete picture because so many cases of drink spiking go unreported. And even when victims do report the crime to the police, because drink spiking does not have its own specific offence code, it is incredibly difficult to monitor and track the number of times this crime has been committed. Our research suggests only 3% of victims report incidents of drink spiking, so the number of reported crimes is likely to be only a tiny proportion of the actual total.


  1. To get as accurate a picture of the problem as possible, we can also look at surveys attempting to assess the prevalence of spiking. For example, Swansea University conducted a survey with their students and found that 1 in 3 students have had their drinks spiked. We get many reports of drink spiking incidents every week. We believe spiking is happening frequently across the UK (and the rest of the world).

Where and when does it happen?

  1. Drink spiking can occur anywhere drinks are consumed. This can include nightclubs, pubs, bars, restaurants, sporting and community events, house parties, and ultimately anywhere the general public gathers and drinks together.


  1. We ran a national survey in 2021 with the aim of finding out how prevalent drink spiking really is, where it happens, whether people are reporting it and, if not, why not. This survey ran over a 3-month period with a total of 369 respondents. 


  1. Of the 369 respondents:

        38% of respondents believe this happened in a pub or bar

        46% of respondents believe this happened in a nightclub

        3% of respondents believe this happened at a festival

        12% of respondents believe this happened at a house/private party

Who is vulnerable to spiking?

  1. Although spiking can happen to anyone, it is most prevalent in the younger generation. From our national survey, 38% of respondents who were spiked were 18-24 years old.


  1. Women and university students appear to be most affected, however lots of males are also experiencing these awful crimes too. We found this out through our survey, and anecdotal evidence we have been given by members of our communities, and it’s also demonstrated by the high-profile case of Reynhard Sinaga, who was convicted of drugging and raping over 100 men in his Manchester flat in 2020.


  1. It is difficult to know the exact number of people who have been spiked. Victims of drink spiking can sometimes feel too ashamed or humiliated to report what has happened to them. Male victims of drink spiking can be especially reluctant to report having their drink spiked.


  1. At Stamp Out Spiking, we have had many people share their experiences of having their drinks spiked and horrendous events that have happened to them.


  1. Here is an individual’s experience that has been shared with us:


“I feel so passionate about what happened to me, I’d like to share my experience with yourself…

I went to watch my favourite team which happened to be Manchester United play another team in a bar on an apartment complex…

I sat at a table on my own, got a pint of beer and started drinking the beer. The team that was my team was playing against scored the goal early on and they all went ballistic. They could tell I was supporting my team and they disliked my team immensely.

What happened was my team, Man United, managed to score just before half time and I jumped up (I was totally elated, over the moon) and they obviously took umbrage to it…

Because it was half-time I made a quick visit to the bathroom and came back to watch the second half. I finished the last inch of my pint that was on the table…it tasted a little bit odd but I thought nothing of it and I ordered another beer for the second half.

I was taking it easy because we were going out for an early evening meal, my wife, my daughter and myself.

I started watching the game and had my other pint. I can’t remember exactly what the result was in the end…as soon as the game finished I was up out and back to the apartment, had a shower to go out for an early evening meal with my wife and my daughter…the three of us jumped on the bus and then I proceeded to argue with the bus driver which I would never dream of doing. I was getting really argumentative, I wanted to fight him. Then, obviously my wife and my daughter weren’t very happy with me. When we got to the bus station I threatened my wife that I was going to leave, I was going to get a divorce, I’d had enough and I stormed off into the night…It was horrendous…They eventually found me standing at the bus stop on my own trying to get back to the apartment absolutely ranting and raving…I’m the most anti-drugs person you can get…I didn’t have any colour in my eyes it was all pupil.

These opposing fans had spiked my drink at half time. I could see what their plans probably were: to start stirring me up after the game because the drugs would have started kicking in by then and I would have risen up to that and probably got involved in something I shouldn’t do. They would’ve phoned the police and I would’ve ended up in a police station full of drugs that I’ve never taken in my life… Thankfully for me I was up and out as soon as the final whistle blew…

The moral of the story is never leave your drinks alone, no matter where you are either finish it or leave it. The following day I was like a zombie - my back felt like 10 guys had been kicking it all night - I felt absolutely dreadful, my head was banging.

I was furious because I’d never taken a drug in my life and they put something in me and if I’d had a heart condition or something, it could’ve killed me.”


Who commits spiking offences and why do they do it?

  1. This horrendous crime has no prejudice. Spiking incidents can occur for a number of reasons, robbery is a common outcome, sexual assault, rape, or even a poor joke, to ridicule the victim.


  1. People of all genders spike drinks, and have their drinks spiked, sadly.


  1. As well as men spiking women, we have also had accounts of women spiking men, men spiking men and even women spiking other women. For example, broadcaster and former tennis player Andrew Castle shared his story with Dawn on LBC - when he revealed that he was spiked and then sexually assaulted by a woman. Later on, he read she had been convicted for targeting men, spiking, assaulting and taking indecent photos of them.

How effective is the 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?

  1. We’re not in a position to know the answer to this question for sure. From what we have seen, it is not evident that these parties are linking up coherently and effectively to prevent drink spiking or safeguard victims.


  1. We have been contacted by a large number of universities and venues that want to tackle the issue of drink spiking, but many of them don’t know where to start, which leads us to believe there is currently not an effective partnership between the right organisations.


  1. We have had to have individual and often disjointed conversations with each of the parties listed, none of whom indicated any sort of partnership or process/policy on preventing drink spiking and safeguarding victims. Even at a local level, it’s challenging, not to mention nationally.


  1. Some localities are more proactive in terms of preventing drink spiking than others - we would like to see a far more joined-up approach to allow us to collectively combat the issue.



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)?

  1. The majority of front-line workers are not drink spike aware, they do not have the necessary training and education they need to be able to act and safeguard appropriately when a spiking incident occurs, alongside the correct policy and procedures to safeguard victims.


  1. We have had experiences shared with us recently:


When a young lady was spiked in a nightclub, the security could not take her and her friend through the club to the bathroom, because she was falling in and out of consciousness. Instead, she was taken to an alleyway at the back of the nightclub. The young lady then had to try to urinate on a stick in the alley behind the club so they could see what was in her system. She could barely stand upright through this, so the security staff and her friend helped her, but ultimately she was put into a more vulnerable position by this approach. The urine test came back negative showing nothing was in her system, at which point, she fell into unconsciousness and an ambulance was subsequently called. When her blood was tested later in the hospital, Rohypnol and GHB were found in her system. This experience was highly traumatic for the poor young lady and the situation could have been dealt with in a significantly better manner if the staff had been trained and educated on the issue of drink spiking and how to safeguard victims.


What barriers do victims face in reporting spiking incidents and obtaining treatment and support?

  1. In 2021, StopTopps ran a national survey with the aim of finding out how prevalent drink spiking really is; where it happens; whether people are reporting it and, if not, why not. This survey ran over a 3-month period with a total of 369 respondents.


  1. Evidence from the survey we ran shows a range of reasons behind victims not reporting the crime:

        19% of respondents didn't report it because they felt ashamed

        17% of respondents didn't report it because they didn't realise drink spiking was a crime

        98% of respondents didn't report it because they were worried the process would be traumatic

        98% of respondents didn't report it because of other reasons

        7% of respondents didn't report it because they didn't want to report the consequences

        4% of respondents didn't report it because they weren't ready to talk about it

        2% of respondents didn't report it because they didn't want the perpetrator to get in trouble

  1. Based on responses to our survey, it would seem that the majority of men do not report their drink spiking experiences due to feeling humiliated and embarrassed, whereas most women reported feeling like there was not enough evidence or they would not be believed.

Are the police doing enough to identify perpetrators and bring them to justice?

  1. In short, I would have to say no, they aren’t.


  1. However, in the police’s defence, until adequate policies and procedures have been put in place - and even after that - spiking will remain a very difficult crime to prove. However, training and education on how to prevent the crime and identify the symptoms of drink spiking would go a long way, especially if combined with appropriate policies and procedures for handling reports of drink spiking (eg - around obtaining evidence of the drug from the victim’s blood, which has to be done within a very short period of time, depending on which drug is used).
  2. In our survey we found that:

        70% of respondents said that one of the biggest barriers to reporting drink spiking to the police is that they don't think there will be enough evidence.

        46% of respondents said that one of the biggest barriers to reporting the crime is that they felt the police would not believe them.

        27% of respondents said that one of the biggest barriers to reporting drink spiking to the police is that they are worried the process would be traumatic

        50% of respondents said that one of the biggest barriers to reporting drink spiking to the police is that they are concerned there would be no action taken

        67% of respondents weren't satisfied with the way that the police dealt with the incident.

  1. Details included:

        ‘They were very good and contacted me after however no action was taken due to lack of evidence.’

        ‘Nothing happened. I was made to feel as though I had drunk too much.’

        ‘It was not taken seriously by the bar or police at the time.’


  1. What role should the Government play in tackling this crime?

        Crime Offence Code - A specific crime offence code (CJS) needs to be put in place for reported drink spiking incidents. Currently, there is not one, so if this is reported, it can be put under various CJS’s, making it difficult to establish the severity of this crime.


        Unattended Drinks - Make taking drinks outside in smoking areas legal and accepted, so people can keep their drinks safe while in all venues. Use plastic cups instead of glass so the broken glass is not an issue and they can still be recycled.


        Licensee Training - Part of the stipulation of being a licensee should be that the majority of staff have specific training on drink spiking awareness issues including symptoms, policies and procedures. Policy needs to be updated to include drink spiking.


        Taxi Service - There needs to be a taxi company that will take spiked individuals home safely. Plastic covers should be put over the seats to protect the vehicle. We can’t have vulnerable victims being left on the side of streets unable to get themselves home whilst spiked.


        Bloods and Urine Samples - Obtaining urine and blood samples within the right timeframe is another obstacle, particularly as many victims do not immediately report incidents to police, given that they often will have experienced blackouts.


        Drug Classification – Date rape drugs need a higher classification, to show from the offset that this crime is taken seriously and there are consequences.


        Education - Anyone who is working in the nighttime economy, should attend compulsory training on drink spiking as part of their induction.


January 2022