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Spiking laws in the UK to be tightened

Spiking is illegal in the UK. But the Home Office has announced that current legislation will be amended under the Offences Against The Person Act 1861 “to make the offence explicit and capture the modern day nature of the threat.” 

These are the words of Laura Farris, Minister for Victims and Safeguarding. Her statements come in response to the influx of spiking cases over the festive party season and the rise of alternative methods, such as needle and vape spiking. 

Ms Farris outlined that the change in legislation will be accompanied by a further set of measures to tackle the crime. Namely: funded research into self-testing kits; thorough training for door staff of clubs, pubs and bars to recognise the difference between a drunk person and a spiked person; better education for young people to understand how these criminals operate, how to best protect themselves and each other; and increased police action around the issue. 

Samantha Millar, National Police Chiefs’ Council Strategic Programme Director of Violence Against Women and Girls, believes that spiking instances are still drastically underreported due to feelings of shame and guilt. She also explains this owes to the ambiguity of legal terminology around spiking which has led people to question whether it is taken seriously by police. 

Since the Girl’s Night In campaign in October 2021 - a short-lived movement in which women across the country boycotted clubbing because it had become unsafe - spiking has not seen sustained media attention and its issues have become personal tales instead. 

The Home Affairs Committee found earlier this year that 72 per cent of alleged victims do not report incidents. Home Secretary James Cleverly clarified: "The public should be under no illusion - spiking is a serious offence and I urge anyone who suspects they have been a victim of this to contact the police now."

The measure is a wider policy of Mr Cleverly’s priority to tackle violence against women and girls. Many victims of spiking wake up with hours missing from their memory. It is usually a conduit crime to commit sexual assault. 

Dawn Dines, CEO and Founder of Stand Out Spiking Global believes this change in legislation will mark a turning point. Having campaigned for measures of its kind for over 20 years she says: “Spiking will finally not be an invisible crime.”

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Tags: #sexualassault #violenceagainstwomenandgirls #spiking


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