education

Universities ‘working with bars and police’ on student safety amid fears over spiking with injections



Universities have said they are working with bars and police over student safety as reports of people being spiked with injections spark fears.

Student groups have planned boycotts of nightclubs next week in a call for tougher action against spiking, while multiple police forces are investigating reports of incidents involving needles.

Amid spiking fears, a spokesperson for Universities UK, which represents more than 100 institutions, said: “The safety of students is of the utmost importance and universities are working together with local police forces, clubs and bars, and student unions to ensure they are fully aware of all risks to student safety.”

They added: “Universities will not tolerate any form of sexual assault or harassment and are dedicated to ensuring that students have the safe and enjoyable university experience they deserve.”

Larissa Kennedy from the National Union for Students said it was “absolutely disgusting” that a number of students have “reported instances of women being spiked by injections on nights out”.

“We need person-centred, trauma-centred support for those impacted by these horrific acts,” she said. “More broadly, we need to see a culture shift across society, rooted in accountability and transformative justice, to ultimately end sexual violence and gendered violence”.

A student from the University of Nottingham told The Independent it was “terrifying” to believe she was spiked through an injection last week. Zara Owen woke up from a night out in the city centre with no memory and a limp, later finding a pinprick on her leg that gave a shooting pain when touched.

Another student from the same university told ITV she woke up in hospital with memory loss and a throbbing pain in her hand – which had a pinprick mark – during Fresher’s Week.

The University of Nottingham was “extremely concerned” by reports of spiking by injections, a spokesperson said, and was working with police and nightlife venues “to monitor, review and learn from incidents and experiences in the city centre”,

“We have contacted them about the specific concerns raised and will continue to liaise with them to actively tackle societal problems and challenge behaviours,” they added.

Nottinghamshire Police are investigating reports of spiking incidents involving injections, as well as West Yorkshire Police and Police Scotland.

Michael Kill, the chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said the organisation was “very concerned” about the reports.

Although the industry is working to try to keep customers safe, Mr Kill warned: “The truth is, though, very real challenges still exist.

“We know this is a societal problem, but it is very difficult to say with any real certainty what the scale of this problem is.”

Additional reporting by Press Association



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