Content warning: the below content includes information on spiking and assault. If you would like to access support without reading this content, please visit: King's Counselling and Mental Health Support and KCLSU Wellbeing.
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Spiking is a serious crime. King’s and KCLSU are committed to working together to tackle this concerning issue, provide support for students and staff, and ensure our spaces are safe and inclusive for all. We have a zero tolerance approach to spiking and all other forms of assault.
The responsibility for spiking and assault lies solely with the perpetrator. As well as potential criminal consequences, any members of the King’s community who are believed to be perpetrators will also be the subject of disciplinary processes including a misconduct investigation if they are a student, or staff disciplinary processes if they are a staff member.
If you have been affected by spiking, it is not your fault. Experiencing spiking can be extremely traumatic and have lasting effects on mental health and wellbeing. We are here to support you and, if you feel comfortable to do so, we encourage you to report the incident.
For information on spiking, the steps we are taking as a community to tackle this issue, the support in place and the reporting tools available, please see below.
What is spiking?
Spiking is when a perpetrator puts a substance, such as drugs or alcohol, into someone’s body without their consent. It is an assault – a serious crime that carries a 10-year penalty. Often the substance is placed in someone’s drink without their knowledge, although over the last couple of years reports have indicated incidences of spiking via injection.
London is an exciting and vibrant city, and we believe everyone should feel safe to enjoy it. Spiking and assault are caused only by the actions of the perpetrator; however, we understand that being equipped with as much information as possible about the signs that someone has been spiked and what to do, may make all members of our community feel more comfortable about enjoying our city at night.
Signs someone may have been spiked
By being aware of the signs that someone may have been spiked, you can look out for each other on a night out and help victims quickly.
The effects of spiking vary from person to person. Some of the symptoms to look out for include:
- Feeling confused or disorientated
- Lowered inhibitions
- Loss of balance
- Distorted vision or hearing
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss
The effects of spiking can begin as quickly as 15-30 minutes after the substance is ingested or injected and can last for several hours.
What to do if you believe yourself or a friend may have been a victim of spiking
- Seek immediate assistance from someone you trust, such as a friend or venue staff.
- Go to a hospital with a trusted person. In an emergency, call 999 for an ambulance. If you have a hearing or speech impairment, you can use the ambulance textphone service 18000 or text 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergency SMS service.
- If you feel comfortable to do so, and if the incident took place on a King’s campus, contact Security using the numbers below.
- If you live in student halls of residence, you can contact your Residence Welfare Leads who are trained to support students and are on-call from 8pm to 8am every day of the week, and are also available 24/7 on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. Contact details are available online.
- When in a safe space and if you feel comfortable to do so, please report the incident using Report + Support. Report + Support is an online platform where King’s staff and students can report concerning behaviour and access support. The Report + Support webpages also have information about different types of concerning behaviour, and about internal and external support services.
- If you suspect the perpetrator was a student or member of staff at King’s, you can use Report + Support to make a complaint for investigation. Actions which breach King’s policies may be the subject of King’s disciplinary processes including student misconduct investigations, with penalties up to and including expulsion, and staff disciplinary processes resulting in termination of their employment.
- If the incident took place in a KCLSU venue, please report it. If you feel comfortable to do so, you can do this at the time to venue staff or by emailing email@example.com who will investigate
Support for students and staff
If you have been affected by spiking or assault, we are here to support you and have a range of resources and options available.
Support options for students:
Support options for staff:
Taking spiking seriously
Spiking is a crime that has lasting impacts on those effected. We treat it with the seriousness it warrants, and perpetrators will face severe consequences – including actions taken by the university and police.
- The expectations of all King’s members. The King’s Community Charter outlines the behaviour expected of all King’s members, including ensuring that our campuses are a welcoming and healthy environment for all. We all play an important role in contributing to a vibrant and safe university community and it’s important that all members of the King’s community take this role seriously. The Charter is available online and is shared with students to read and accept when they enrol and re-enrol each year.
- Security checks and bag searches. KCLSU security staff carry out security checks and bag searches at KCLSU venues, including random spot-checks on wallets and CCTV is closely monitored. Where an individual is found to be possessing items likely to be used for spiking, either via drinks or injections, the police are informed and KCLSU reports the incident to the university. King’s security staff are available to support students with concerns on campus.
- Taking reports seriously. We take reports of spiking and assault extremely seriously and strongly encourage students, where they feel comfortable, to report incidents of this nature to the police so it can be criminally investigated. We also have our own robust university reporting processes in place and fully investigate any reports. If a perpetrator is identified to be a student or staff member, they will face a range of disciplinary measures, including expulsion or termination of employment.
Working together to tackle these issues
Together, we are working to help tackle spiking and assault to help ensure everyone feels safe to enjoy student life in London. Examples of this work include:
- Working with venues, local licensing authorities and partners. We work closely with partners such as London Metropolitan Police and Safer Sounds, a partnership which shares best practice and training, to help create safe events and spaces in the capital. KCLSU report any venues where reported incidents of spiking have taken place to the licensing authorities for Southwark.
- Helping students feel safe on nights out. Whilst the responsibility for spiking lies solely with the perpetrator, we understand that some students feel more comfortable on a night out by taking certain measures such as using drink covers. To support this, free covers are available for students in KCLSU spaces to use. KCLSU venues also operate the “Ask Angela” scheme. Roaming security staff in KCLSU venues wear body cameras and at least one female security officer and two fully trained medics are on duty each shift. Venues have a quiet area available for students and transport can be provided when necessary. Staff are fully trained and approach students who appear vulnerable and are looking to leave on their own to ascertain how they are getting home and who with, working to ensure people get home safely and with a friend where possible.
- Training and support for students and staff. The university has training programmes available to students and staff to help create a safe environment on campus and support victims. Consent training is available to all students via the ‘Consent Matters’ training programme. All students are encouraged to take this course which covers understanding consent, communication and relationships, and looking out for others. Staff from across the university and KCLSU Advice have also attended Survivor’s Trust training to help support victims. At KCLSU venues, staff receive WAVE training (Welfare and Vulnerability Engagement) which covers issues such as safeguarding, sexual exploitation and harassment, and drug awareness.
- Working to prevent and address harassment and sexual misconduct. The “Preventing and addressing harassment and sexual misconduct oversight committee” includes student representation from KCLSU. The purpose of this committee is to provide a forum to discuss emerging issues and initiatives related to bullying, harassment, and sexual violence, and help ensure that we are embedding good practice in our policies, procedures and culture.
- Rapid Testing Kits are also available at both KCLSU bars – Vault at the Strand and Guy’s Bar. These kits can be used to test drinks prior to consumption for substances.