Durham uni's advice for students trying not to get spiked - don't get spiked 1 month ago

Durham uni's advice for students trying not to get spiked - don't get spiked

Boycotts of nightclubs are due to take place across the country, as part of a 'Girls Night In' movement, to force owners to better protect revellers

Durham University has been accused of  "victim shaming" after offering particularly unhelpful advice to students who may be prayed upon by drink spikers.

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In a now-deleted tweet, it advised students "don't get spiked".

"Drink Spiking is dangerous and something that you can prevent from happening to you and your friends. "#dontgetspiked Contact the police as soon as possible in a suspected case so an investigation can be conducted and others protected," the advice, also posted to Instagram, read.

Students have said the advice amounts to "victim-blaming".

Durham Students' Union President Seun Twins shared the post with the message: "This victim-blaming messaging is extremely dangerous.

"What was this supposed to achieve other than to divert attention away from predators and predatory behaviour? Disappointed for the umpteenth time."

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Jonah Graham, Durham SU Welfare and Liberation Officer added on Twitter: "Disappointing. Spiking is assault so this hashtag is widely inappropriate. "The uni should help students to stay safe (e.g. providing drink covers) and report incidents without insensitively blaming victims.

"All guilt lies with perpetrators - the primary focus must be on them."

The outrage also spread to other universities, Chronicle Live, reported. Fran Heald, a Leeds University student, told the publication: "The tweet said 'don't get spiked' and I understand what they were trying to do, as there are things you can do to avoid it.

"But those measures don’t mean that you won't get spiked and they won't necessarily stop it from happening."

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The 19-year-old added: "I think it was a bit ignorant, especially coming from such a large institution with such a large number of students."

A spokesperson for Durham University said: "We appreciate the feedback on our recent post about drink safety. "Students have reported concerns to us about drink spiking on nights out.

The post comes after Durham student newspaper, Palatinate, last week reported incidents of drink spiking had allegedly increased across the city during Freshers Week. The report referred to at least ten cases at two colleges and others from across the wider student body.

Last month Essex police began investigating a possible serial drink spiker after 12 victims fell ill over an eight-week period. The investigation is on-going.

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While the Durham University advice focused on drink spiking, concerns have been raised about victims being spiked with syringes. Cases have surfaced in Edinburgh, Nottingham, Dundee, and Liverpool.

Victims say they have been pierced with a needle in their leg, hands, and back and woke up with no recollection of the night before, but with a pinprick mark surrounded by a giant bruise.

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Police in Nottingham have since arrested a 20-year-old man "on suspicion of possession of class A and class B and cause [to] administer poison or noxious thing with intent to injure, aggrieve and annoy".

The Times on Wednesday reported how one 19-year-old woman felt “a pinch on the back of her arm” before blacking out as she left Stealth nightclub in Nottingham on October 12.

SNP MP Evelyn Tweed wrote to Police Scotland at the weekend to voice concerns over the growing number of spiking reports.

And Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome has also said she is in contact with police following reports of a student being spiked with a needle at Przym nightclub in the city.

Students in Scotland have organised a ‘Girls Night In’ boycott of nightclubs in Edinburgh to force owners to take action against people spiking revellers with dangerous substances - whether it’s in their drink or via injection - in a protest that has spread across the UK.

petition “to make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry” was closing in on 130,000 signatures at Wednesday lunchtime.

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