Will Women Ever be Safe? Do venues do enough to protect us?
16th November 2021
Women have the same rights to go out and have a fun, safe night, as men do… so why can’t they?
We are currently experiencing one of the worst spiking epidemics in recent history, with spiking becoming more tactical than ever before. Since August 21st 2021, there have been 198 reported cases of drink spiking across the UK. This figure is likely to be more, with many more unreported.
Alongside this, there have been 24 reported cases of spiking via injection, an extremely scary phenomenon particularly due to the HIV risk and reuse of needles.
Girls so commonly get their bags searched – why do we not see similar for men?
So… whose responsibility is it to keep women safe?
Door staff and security must obtain an SIA License, but this isn’t club specific. Security staff are taught with on-the-job training, meaning that there is no industry standard for dealing with issues such as spiking and women’s safety.
Speaking to female security staff, we’ve had a first hand report of male security staffs’ response to spiking. Once confirming a girl is conscious, they will give her a bottle of water and escort her off the premises. Male staff may not realise the danger of this, but only 7% of security staff are female, so the cycle continues.
With regards to club owners, whether or not they will admit it, drugs are a massive part of the nightlife economy, despite the many legal implications they hold. More robust searches for drugs would be detrimental to income. As a result, it’s impossible to implement searches for date-rape drugs without threatening the revenue stream.
According to the Licensing Act 2003, both security staff and venue owners should be taking steps to help those who suspect that they have been spiked.
The Act states that the spiking should be reported to the police, and that there should be a ‘chill out’ area for victims to sit safely in. While some venues do have this, it can be few and far between because there is no risk of losing license when cases of spiking are reported on premise.
Girl’s Night In
The Girls Night In movement was a nightclub boycott that was result of girls wanting to make a stand against spiking. In total, over 50 universities across the country took part in the movement.
The movement gained a huge amount of traction. For example, 31 societies from the University of Gloucestershire took part in the boycott, in solidarity for the fight against spiking.
On October 27th, 2021, a new club in Cheltenham was due to open. As this was the night of the boycott, the venue postponed their grand opening by a week in solidarity of the movement.
With regards to MooMoo Cheltenham, the town’s main nightclub, the venue released a statement in response to the movement, detailing the new measures that they will be putting in place to try and prevent spiking.
Girl’s Night In demanded change. Our recommendations to venue owners and security staff as a result of this would be:
- Greater repercussions for abusers
- Nightclub staff training
- Thorough entry searches
- Better support for victims
- Anti-spiking devices in venues
According to the leader of the Gloucestershire Girls Night In, the response to the university’s boycott has had an encouraging response, and they hope that the movement will put us one step closer to feeling safer on nights out!
Why you should care
The movement has gained so much traction in a short period of time, with the BBC, ITV and Sky talking about it in their news broadcasts.
As well as vast news publications in the UK, news broadcasters across the world have picked up the Girls Night In Story, including ABC and the Washington Post in the USA, plus countless broadcasters across Asia and Oceania. This scope of publicity puts the spotlight of the world on the UK’s venue owners and security staff’s response.
Around 50% of nightclub visitors are women, so to keep profits high it is your responsibility, as club staff, to keep these girls protected.
Man caught on camera allegedly spiking a young ladies drink. 😳 Happened in Bristol, Pryzm. Thankfully her friend was able to take her home when she began to feel unwell. pic.twitter.com/GtZwPj7AHH— London & UK Crime (@CrimeLdn) September 30, 2021
You may not be spiked yourself, but you have a duty of care as venue staff to be involved in the battle against spiking and preventing situations such as the above. It’s not something that women can do on their own. Will you join the fight?
Have you ever had an experience of spiking that club staff didn’t react well to? What do you think could be done to lessen instances of spiking? Leave a comment below.