Durham University students boycott clubs and bars over drink-spiking rise across the country

Durham University students are taking part in a boycott of bars and clubs in response to reports of a rise in drink spiking across the country.

The #GirlsNightIn event will take place in Durham city on Tuesday 26 October to coincide with a nationwide campaign.

Several university societies are backing the campaign on social media and encouraging their members, male and female, to participate.

Durham University has said that they are "working closely with our partners, including the police, and student leaders to help our students stay safe and report incidents."

Professor Antony Long, Acting Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, said: “We will continue to support students affected by this issue by offering welfare and pastoral support, signposting to specialist services and, where appropriate and where they wish us to do so, working with those subjected to spiking to report any spiking incident to the police so this can be investigated. 

"Any students who have experienced any additional form of sexual violence in relation to a spiking incident will be offered our full range of reporting and support options."

One bar in Durham says that although they haven't seen a rise in cases locally they are taking on a number of additional measures to keep customers safe.

  • Cheryl Bullock, Manager at Jimmy Allens Durham.

Durham Police say they are "committed to doing everything they can to make the county a safe place for everyone."

Inspector Phil Carter, from Durham Constabulary's Harm Reduction Unit, said: "We are aware of posts circulating on social media regarding spiking incidents involving injections, but so far have not received any reports of such incidents occurring in County Durham and Darlington.

"Drink spiking is a serious offence, and we will always take any reports of this type of crime seriously - if you believe you been a victim of drink spiking, report it to us on 101 or 999, and seek medical attention immediately. Incidents can also be reported to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of community protection services, said: “We would like to reassure everyone who lives, works in and visits Durham that it is a safe city, and we are committed to working with our partners to ensure it remains safe.

 “Following concerns being raised last week around spiking incidents, we have visited several licensed premises alongside Durham Constabulary to raise awareness of the issue and offer advice to help everyone stay safe during a night out.”

The University recently came under scrutiny after for alleged 'victim blaming' after posting "Don't Get Spiked" on social media as part of their anti-drink spiking campaign.

In a now-deleted tweet, the university's student wellbeing account said:

"Drink spiking is dangerous and something you can prevent happening to you and your friends. #don'tgetspiked"

Many have criticised the post online - which comes amid a rise in reports of claims women have been drugged by injection. The University page apologised for the tweet.

Elsewhere in the region, a Newcastle bar has introduced safety measures as concerns rise over incidents of drink spiking.

Market Shaker, located on the Bigg Market, have now taken the following steps to prevent such spiking experiences:

  • Increasing their security by 50%.

  • Installing additional CCTV cameras.

  • Purchasing Check Your Drink kits with which drinks can be tested at the bar upon request.

  • Providing 'advanced welfare training' designed to help staff respond to a spiking situation, including first aid.

  • Installing a 'vulnerable persons area' where people can go if in distress or need "time out".

  • Glass toppers made available

You can read more about it here.

Reports in recent days of people being spiked via injection have caused nationwide distress over the safety of club and bar goers.

Nearly 200 drink spiking incidents have been reported to police forces across the UK over the past two months, figures reveal.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said there have been 198 confirmed reports of drink spiking in September and October, in addition to 24 reports of some form of injection.

It added that the majority of cases featured young women, with alleged offences having taken place at licensed premises and private parties.