Your judgement, physical responses and awareness of surroundings are all affected by drinking alcohol and/or using drugs. This reduces your instinct of self-preservation and ability to control and react to situations.
- If someone gives you drugs or alcohol without your knowledge, often by simply giving you drinks that are much stronger than you expect, and, as a result, you are not capable of freely consenting to sexual activity, this is an offence.
- Alcohol and other drug facilitated sexual assault is often planned crime and regardless of what you may have voluntarily taken or had to drink, it is not your fault. There are laws to protect you and services that can provide support and information about your rights and options.
- It is common for victims of drug-facilitated sexual assault to have unclear, or only partial, recollections of what happened to them. As a result, victims are not always confident about reporting the suspected incident to the police. It is advisable that victims report these incidents regardless of how much they can remember. Police may discover other evidence to identify the offender.
If you think your drink has been spiked
People have been known to use recreational or prescription drugs to render someone unconscious in order to sexually assault them.
Tips for avoiding spiked drinks
Taking a few simple precautions may reduce the likelihood of you having your drink spiked:
- Avoid leaving drinks unattended – if you leave your table to dance or talk and no-one’s keeping an eye on your drink then discard it.
- Know what you are drinking.
- Buy your own drinks.
- If you are given a drink, make sure it is from an unopened container.
- Order and watch bar staff make your drink.
- If someone offers to buy you a drink, go up to the bar with them and accept the drink there.
- Do not drink from a container that is being passed around or one that’s used for mixed drinks such as punch.
- Remember that soft drinks, tea, coffee and hot chocolate can also be spiked
- Look out for your friends; keep an eye on their drinks. If you think their drink has been spiked, get them out of the situation as fast as possible
- If you feel unwell, extremely drunk or sleepy after only one or two drinks, get help straight away. You do not have much time.
- Ask a trusted friend for help. Failing that, go straight to the hotel security staff and ask them to get you urgent medical attention.
- Wherever possible do not accept help from strangers or people you would not normally trust.
If you have, or think you may have, been sexually assaulted:
- You will probably be suffering from trauma and should seek medical attention and support, even if you do not want to report the attack to the police. Your local Centre Against Sexual Assault can provide free confidential services, such as counselling and advice about medical and legal options.
- Don’t be scared to report the incident to the police, even if you are a recreational drug user, or have few or no memories of the attack. The sooner it is reported, the greater the likelihood of the offender being brought to justice.
- Most drugs leave the body in less than 72 hours. If you are concerned and want to be tested for the possibility of drugs in your system then go to your nearest hospital for a medical examination.
- If your clothes or belongings have vomit on them, it may contain whatever drug was used, and should be kept as evidence.
For more details contact:
Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)
Counselling, support, information, & 24 hr crisis care for recent sexual assault.
Phone: (08) 89 227 156 (24hr)
Mixing alcohol and other drugs (whether they are prescription or non-prescription) is a dangerous combination. Possible side effects include loss of coordination, inability to concentrate, loss of inhibitions, amnesia, ulcers, coma and death.
As with alcohol, other drugs can also cause a wide range of responses, depending on the type of drug being used, e.g. sedative, analgesics, benzodiazepines etc.
If you believe you are being followed on foot, then be prepared to carry out a personal safety plan. This may mean going to the nearest populated place, such as a police station, shop, service station, hotel or even an occupied house. You may choose to confirm your suspicions by crossing the road or changing direction. If the person really is following you, call the police as soon as you get to a safe place.
If a car approaches you and you are threatened, back away and run in the opposite direction. This will gain you vital seconds and make it more difficult for the car to follow. If you can, make a note of the registration number and description of the car, driver and any passengers. Do whatever you believe will best preserve your safety and try to keep to well-lit and populated areas.
Persistent unwanted admirer
If you are in a nightclub and someone is paying you unwanted attention, be assertive in telling them to leave you alone. If they take no notice, there are a few things you can do:
- Embarrassment: draw attention to your admirer’s unwanted behaviour by telling them in an overly loud voice to leave you alone and that you are not interested in them. Speak loudly enough for everyone around you to hear.
- Relocation: move to another area or join a group of people.
- Assistance: if he or she remains persistent, bring their behaviour to the attention of a friend or someone in authority, for example a bar manager or security person, to get their help to stop the unwanted behaviour.