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Drug – Drug-assisted sexual assault – ‘Date Rape’

 

In a significant proportion of attacks, robberies, muggings, rape and sexual assault cases, the victim (male or female) is found to have been drinking alcohol before the assault rather than being incapacitated by other substances.


Reports published in 2005 and 2006 following separate studies by the Forensic Science Service (FSS) and the Association of Chief Police Officers on alleged drug assisted sexual assault, found some offenders facilitate sexual assault by administering drugs, including alcohol, to victims, and some commit opportunistic assaults after the victim has become intoxicated following their own use of drugs and/or alcohol. However, it was found that the ‘spiking’ of drinks with so–called ‘Date Rape’ drugs such as Rohypnol or GHB was very rare.

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Licensees and the general public are therefore recommended to be alert to the potential of this type of offence. The FSS suggested that advice be given regarding the consumption of alcohol (e.g. drinking steadily and not drinking on an empty stomach), as well as the dangers of illicit drug use; following such advice could help decrease the number of cases of alleged drug facilitated sexual assault as fewer people would find themselves in a vulnerable situation.


To date, there has been no independent study on the effectiveness of drug ‘spiking’ test kits and anti-tampering bottle stoppers. Some tests can give false results and only detect certain drugs.

 

Bottle stoppers have limited use, are expensive, and do not address issues around alcohol consumption. Alcohol is the most common ‘Date Rape’ drug.


If you are considering promoting issues regarding alcohol, personal safety and/or drink spiking, advice and guidance is available from the Hertfordshire Drug Education Forum. Visit our Information and Advice page for more.