student.union@newcastle.ac.uk

Addressing Spiking: A Statement from your Sabbatical Officers (Updated)

CW: Spiking/Assault

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CW: Spiking/Assault

[Update: 28 Oct 2021 17:18]

 

New Resources Added

What can you do as a bystander or if you witness an incident when you are out in Town? We are firm in the fact that all responsibility for spiking incidents lies only with the perpetrators. The information below is provided to offer support to students following feedback that we have received and will hopefully help you to manage any thoughts, worries, or concerns. The recent and ongoing incidents have resulted in the student community feeling unsafe and at a loss as to know what to do. You may have heard about incidents or might have been a witness in a bar or club and didn’t know what to do at the moment, hopefully, our new resource page will help. Find all of our resources, reporting services, and general FAQs around Spiking incidents at nusu.co.uk/support/welfare/spiking/

 

[Update: 28 Oct 2021 17:18]

 

Yesterday we had the first of several meetings with the police, representatives from the council, licensing, the university’s student health and wellbeing services and Northumbria University to discuss what needs to be done about the increase of spiking incidents in the city. Among many points, we raised the imminent need for a city-wide approach not only focused on support but meaningful prevention. This includes a request for licensing reviews, staff training, designated wellbeing staff in clubs, vulnerable person areas, and clearly written procedures to be implemented in the event of spiking, harassment and violence. While some of these measures are part of the city wide, ‘Shout Up’ campaign, we ask for greater commitment to the safety of all who live in Newcastle. At the forefront of each discussion, we highlighted that all measures put in place must be intersectional and must consider the impacts on minorized groups in our community. To conclude our meeting, an action plan was established to ensure that actions are taken by those with the authority to do so and we will continue to update you on the outcomes of this work.  A key partner of the meeting was Northumbria Police, who give the following message to students:  Due to the ongoing media coverage and national discussion surrounding spiking, we expect to see reports of spiking continue to increase and as a Force; we will be robustly investigating all reports received. It is really positive to see so many people looking out for one another on a night out and reporting concerns and possible vulnerability to us and we would encourage everyone to continue to do this. We take all reports of spiking seriously and will take strong action against anyone found to be doing this and will support all victims. We are aware of ongoing efforts by various pubs and clubs to help increase safety in their premises and we welcome this. We are also taking a number of steps to keep people safe on their night out. We are proactively policing the night-time economy and as part of Operation Cloak, have dedicated officers on patrol to protect those who may be vulnerable and target anyone looking to commit offences. We also work very closely with our partners in the local authority, universities and licensees to help ensure the city remains one of the safest to enjoy a night out. We would also encourage anyone planning a night out to remember the essentials – keys, money, phone and make plans to get home.

 


[Original Post: 22 Oct 2021 10:37]

 

As a Sabbatical team and as a Union, we are deeply concerned and saddened by the awful increase in spiking incidents. We understand that many might be scared and anxious at this time, and honestly, so are we. We want you to know that we hear you, we stand with you, and we are doing all we can to combat the situation.  

So, what are we doing?  

A call out to all our clubs and societies was sent this week, asking them to stand in solidarity with the national boycott of Newcastle Clubs on Thursday 28th October. We will be sending the list of clubs and societies to local vendors to show that Newcastle students are not comfortable going out unless necessary measures are put in place to prevent spiking. 

Please know that we have already taken a city-wide approach by working with the University, Police, and the City Council’s licensing team to ensure that Newcastle is safe for all who want to enjoy living here and that includes nights out.  We have an additional emergency meeting scheduled next week with the University and local authorities and we will update you on progress as soon as we can.  

We have also joined with research partners to investigate meaningful measures to prevent perpetrators. This piece of work not only feeds into our overarching harm reduction strategy but also into our work on changing cultures and eradicating misogyny.  

The more evidence we have, the more we can do about this situation, so we encourage anyone who has been affected by spiking to report it - even if this is simply a location. You can report using the University’s Report and Support form or through the police. Of course, there is no pressure at all as we understand this can be a difficult thing to do. Please remember the University’s Student Health and Wellbeing Team are here to help anyone affected during this time, even if you do not feel comfortable reporting an incident.  

Finally, we believe that no one’s freedom to go out, have fun, or live their lives the way they want should be infringed upon because of someone else’s actions. We absolutely condemn any form of victim-blaming and fully recognize that we need to prevent and prohibit perpetrators. However, to help make you feel more comfortable in the Town we have cup covers and spikeys you can collect from Luther’s bar. Luther’s will remain open as a safe social space for students at this time.  

Support for those affected

If you have been affected by spiking, there will always be support here for you. You can contact any of your Sabbatical or Liberation Officers or the University Student Wellbeing Service. If you are on a night out and you feel yourself or someone else may have been spiked please call 999 and let the staff in the bar know.  

  • Spiking incidents can be reported to the Police via 101 (non-emergency) or 999 (emergency). 
  • If you have been affected by this the University Wellbeing Team is here to offer support. Please get in touch. Link to https://www.ncl.ac.uk/wellbeing/ 
  • Email the SU generaloffice.union@newcastle.ac.uk generaloffice.union@ncl.ac.uk
  • Drink Aware have further information on what to do to help prevent spiking or if you suspect spiking has occurred. 

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