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Information on spiking from King’s and KCLSU

two logos sit next to each other. black text on a white background reads: KCLSU, our students' union. a red rectangle containing white words: King's College London

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.  

Reported incidents of spiking across the country are very concerning and we are committed to working together – across King’s and KCLSU – to help tackle this issue and provide support for students and staff. If you have been affected by these issues, 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 have a range of options available.

For information on spiking, the steps we are taking as a community to tackle this issue, and the support in place, please see below.

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 may 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.

What is spiking?

Spiking is when a perpetrator administers a substance to someone without their knowledge. It is an assault – a serious crime that carries a 10-year penalty for the offence. Often the substance is placed in someone’s drink without their knowledge, although recent 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 may have been spiked and what to do may make students and staff 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 them 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
  • Nausea/vomiting 
  • Loss of consciousness  
  • Hallucinations 
  • Paranoia
  • Memory loss

The effects of spiking can begin as quickly as 15-30 minutes after being 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 feel comfortable to do so, report the incident to the police 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 inform the university of the incident by emailing Studentwellbeingandwelfare@kcl.ac.uk who will help you to access support. If you suspect that the perpetrator may be a student or staff member, you can formally report a complaint against the individual by emailing appeals@kcl.ac.uk, who will investigate. More information on this process is available here. Such actions 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 complaints@kclsu.org 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:

The steps we are taking 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.

Please see below for some of the steps already underway at King’s and KCLSU:

  • Working with venues and local licencing authorities.  KCLSU President, Zahra Syed, has written formally on behalf of KCLSU to the licensing authorities for Southwark to report venues where this has taken place.
  • Security checks and bag searches. KCLSU security staff are carrying out security checks and bag searches at KCLSU venues, including random spot-checks on wallets and CCTV is being 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 whilst we strongly encourage students, where they feel comfortable, to report incidents of this nature to the police so they 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 may face a range of disciplinary measures, including expulsion or termination of employment.
  • 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 office 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.
  • 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.
  • Working to prevent and address harassment and sexual misconduct. Earlier this year, the university created a new “Preventing and addressing harassment and sexual misconduct oversight committee”, which 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.
  • Improved reporting systems for harassment. A key decision made at the “Preventing and addressing harassment and sexual misconduct oversight committee” was to move ahead with a ‘Report & Support’ system, which will provide a single, straightforward point of entry for reports of harassment, and enable all members of the King’s community to access formal and informal modes of resolution. This will go live in May 2022, with a full launch in September 2022.

24/7 Security Service Team external contact numbers

Denmark Hill East Campus (IoPPN) 020 7848 0008
Denmark Hill West Campus (WEC) 020 7848 5500
Hodkin Building, Guy’s Campus 020 7848 6666
New Hunt’s House, Guy’s Campus 020 7848 6830
Strand and King’s Buildings, Strand Campus 020 7848 1024
Bush House, Strand Campus 020 7848 8661
Maughan Library, Strand Campus 020 7848 1428
Gate 3, St Thomas’ Hospital 020 7848 3395
Franklin-Wilkins Building, Waterloo Campus 020 7848 3806