The recent reports of spiking via injection from cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Nottingham, and Durham are nothing short of horrific. I feel as a woman MP and an active member of the Women and Equalities Select Committee it is so important that I lend my voice to calls for the Government to urgently act considering the increase in women and girls being spiked while in bars and nightclubs.
Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in products made to help women prevent their drinks from being spiked. From coasters with holes punched in for a straw to go through, to hair scrunchies that unfold into a fabric cover for the top of a glass. These products, while entirely useful and unfortunately necessary, leave the responsibility on women to protect themselves from being spiked. It is not, and should not, be the responsibility of women and girls alone to take these precautions to avoid spiking.
What is more terrifying for women and girls across the country, are the recent reports coming out of spiking via injection. This type of spiking means that even women who do take steps to cover their drinks to avoid spiking are at risk, and the products designed to combat drink-spiking are entirely useless in defence against injection. Not only is spiking via injection an entirely sinister development in violence against women and girls, but it also raises worrying complications such as use of unclean needles and improper injection. Both of which can lead to serious and lasting complications and even death.
I will be writing to the Government to demand on behalf of the women and girls in my own constituency of Jarrow, as well as women and girls across the country, that the Government urgently act, to condemn these disgusting and reprehensible attacks and to ensure that spiking will be treated as assault and that bars, pubs and nightclubs are given proper and detailed guidance on how to ensure their establishments are safe places for everyone. As well as reinforcing laws around spiking and the consequences for doing so.
No person should have to fear being drugged against their will at any point in their life, let alone while out enjoying time with friends. It is unacceptable that these disgusting attacks take place with little consequence for the perpetrator, while leaving victims of spiking fearful.
It is not enough to tell people who have been spiked to report it, there needs to be real action taken by Government to change the toxic culture that results in these attacks becoming commonplace and normalised. I will continue to fight for women and girls to ensure that the law protects them from these abhorrent and disgusting methods of assault.