31 August 2022 Publications
31 August 2022 Publications
Last updated on Tuesday 20 Dec 2022 at 10:28pm
A new practice note will today be published by Universities UK to help universities prepare, ahead of the start of the academic year, for any reported spiking incidents.
While misconceptions about the nature of this crime are common, and data on the scale of the problem limited, student concerns grew last autumn after a significant increase in reports of spiking across the general population.
Ahead of the start of the 2022-23 year, universities are being urged to prepare to support their student communities with essential information to prevent spiking and on what to do if it does occur.
The note is the initial output of a working group, originally convened by ministers at the Department of Education, and chaired by Professor Lisa Roberts, Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter.
It outlines principles and considerations for universities, along with an ‘immediate actions’ checklist to respond to an incident, and also includes best-practice examples of successful initiatives at institutions.
The practice note outlines how:
Drafted by academic expert Professor Nicole Westmarland, Director of the Durham University Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse, the notice was put together with the advice and support of students, campaigners, the police, and other experts. The experiences of people who have been spiked are included in the practice note.
Spiking is a horrific crime that nobody should have to experience or fear. While the true scale of the problem is uncertain, we do know that every student should be able to safely enjoy the social opportunities of university life without feeling afraid.
“The entire higher education community needs to understand the risks, and universities can help be part of the solution. We want university life to be as safe and enjoyable as possible for every student and to deliver that outcome, universities will look to work closely with local police, healthcare providers and partners in the night-time economy to help ensure everyone can safely enjoy the nightlife of our local towns and cities.
Professor Lisa Roberts
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter and Chair, Department for Education Spiking Working Group
Ahead of the autumn term, it’s vital that universities are well-prepared to support students in response to heinous spiking attacks which caused deep concern last year.
“That’s why the Department for Education launched a working group to help the higher education sector grip the issue and come up with practical advice for universities.
“Today’s guidance will help universities respond effectively to incidents of spiking and to work with police, night-time venues and other partners to stamp out spiking attacks against students.
Minister for Skills, Further and Higher Education
This practice note was written by Professor Nicole Westmarland, Director of the Durham University Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse and Professor of Criminology in the Department of Sociology, Durham University.
The work was informed by expert counsel from the DfE ministerial working group on spiking. Members of this group consulted with their students – including male students, students from Black and minoritised ethnic communities, and international students.