What to do if your friend is a victim of spiking as new protection measures are launched

New drink spiking measures designed to protect victims are soon to be introduced by the government. (Getty Images)
New drink spiking measures designed to protect victims are soon to be introduced by the government. (Getty Images)

New measures to help protect people from drink spiking are soon to be introduced.

Funding for testing kits and training for door staff will form part of a package ministers hope will help tackle the issue.

The move is aimed to tackle spiking, when someone puts drugs into another’s drink or directly into their body without their knowledge or consent, come alongside plans to modernise the law to make clear it is a crime.

As the party season continues the Home Office has set out a number of practical steps to protect women at this time of year.

Alongside plans to amend the Criminal Justice Bill and update the Offences Against The Person Act 1861, officials said hundreds more door staff will be trained to spot potential perpetrators and signs of spiking.

The Government said it will also invest in research into test kits, while the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) will run "intensive operations" on key weeks across forces in England and Wales.

The Home Office also said an online tool will be rolled out to all police forces to make anonymous reporting of suspected spiking easier, with new guidance for the public also to be published.

Drink being spiked with pill. (Getty Images)
There are simple steps to do if you think your friend has been spiked. (Getty Images)

According to new data from the National Police Chiefs' Council, seen by The Independent, there were 6,732 reported spiking offences between May 2022 and May 2023 – including 957 needle spiking offences.

Further figures reveal some 40% of 18-25 year old men and women believe they have been spiked, but while 65% of this age group have noticed an alarming increase in spikings, 73% also don't know what to do if this dangerous situation occurs.

Earlier this year drinks brand, Malibu, along with comedian Munya Chawawa (known for tackling serious issues in a not-so serious way) and spiking victim Amber Davies launched five simple steps – B.A.B.E.S – to remember in a spiking situation and help you look out for your mates on nights out.

"I have seen first-hand that when faced with a spiking situation, people are often unsure what to do or where to begin. Reflecting on my own experience, it would have been so reassuring for me and my friends to have had access to B.A.B.E.S, so we have created these practical and memorable steps, that means everyone can look out for their besties," says actor and ex-Love Islander Davies.

Some 71% of victims also report feeling vulnerable on nights out when spiking occurred and didn't know where to turn for help. So, to help change this, if spiking does unfortunately happen to one of your friends (or you suspect it may have happened to someone else), here's what to remember.

What do if your friend gets spiked

  • Buddy Up – Stay with your friend

  • Alert Staff – Speak to bar or door staff for assistance

  • Be Chatty – Keep your friend talking

  • Emergency Call – Call 999

  • Switch to Water – Sip water, not alcohol

CEO of Drink Aware Karen Tyrell also reminds us: "Drink spiking is a serious crime that can happen to anyone at any time. It’s important to be able to recognise the signs and know how to help someone you suspect has been a victim."

B.A.B.E.S was also developed in collaboration with Good Night Out, the global campaign for safer nightlife, who have been supporting venues worldwide for ten years.

How to stay safe from spiking

While this responsibility should never be down to the individual, as everyone should be able to enjoy a night out without worrying about their safety, there are some tips to be aware of when it comes to spiking.

"Spiking should never happen, sadly it does, to keep yourself safe when you are out by making sure someone always knows where you are heading, that you always keep your eye on your own drink, stay with friends, don't accept drinks or other substances from strangers and if something feels wrong, get to safety, to your friends, venue staff, or security and stay with them until you have a safe way home," says Dawn Dines, CEO of Stamp Out Spiking.

The charity is working with Malibu to train 2000 festival, bar, club, convenience staff and consumers to know what to do in a spiking situation.

How to cope after being spiked

two female friends hugging
Don't go through it alone. (Getty Images)

If you have experienced spiking, it can understandably affect your mental health. But you are not alone.

"For the victim, being spiked can have a massive impact on their life, leaving them feeling scared, anxious, powerless and confused as they try to work out what has happened to them," says Dines.

"These feelings can last long after the drugs used to spike you have left your system.

"The best advice is, don't keep in a secret, get to a place and people where you can feel safe. Tell a trusted friend or family member and give yourself time for your body and mind to recover.

"It may be embarrassing or upsetting to talk about what has happened to you and it may take time but don't go through this alone".

And remember, it isn't your fault.

Where to get help if you have been spiked

Being spiked can be an awful thing to experience, but help is out there.

Depending on the circumstances you may be offered support via the police or healthcare service and victims can also reach out to Stamp out Spiking, Victim Support (08 08 16 89 111), The Samaritans or a Rape Crisis Centre for advice and someone to talk to. There may also be local specialist support services that can listen and support.

"If you feel you have been sexually assaulted please speak to the hospital, GP or SARC sexual assault referral centre," Dines adds.

If you are in urgent danger call 999.

Malibu is also donating £20,000 to Stamp Out Spiking to help it continue tackling spiking through research, education, and policy change.

Drink spiking: Read more

Watch: Girls Night In: Nightclub boycott to highlight drinkspiking

Additional reporting PA.