Nottingham young women still feel unsafe in the city at night in spite of multiple initiatives to increase their safety.
This comes after a surge in spiking reports, which triggered the Girls Night In boycott last month.
Following the boycott, which saw many young women stay home for a night in solidarity with spiking victims, city clubs have implemented new measures aimed at providing revellers with a safer night out.
The new safety steps include thorough ID and bag checks, making drink toppers available at bars upon request and increased security presence.
However, it seems like a month after the boycott, the fear of being spiked is still very much present among women-a survey conducted by CBJ News has revealed.
Of the 51 women surveyed, 44 (86.3 per cent) said they still feel unsafe when on a night out, three of them having been spiked or knowing someone who has been spiked since the boycott.
One of the people who took part in the survey, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “I went to Rock City on November 11.
“I thought I just drank too much because I felt really ill so I went home.
“The night after I went out and my flat mate saw a bruise on my arm and then, when we had a closer look, we saw the needle mark as well and in that moment I pieced it all together.”
“I was kind of expecting it to happen to me at some point” – anonymous
She added: “I reported it to the police and they were really nice about it.
“They checked CCTV and also came to my flat and asked me questions, they called me, emailed me.
“I was kind of expecting it to happen to me at some point though, because of how common spiking has become.”
Another woman has also revealed that she has been spiked since the Girls Night In boycott took place.
She said: “I knew something was wrong in the morning because I couldn’t remember anything.
“I felt really ill so I went to A&E and they ran some blood tests on me and they’ve found the rape drug in my blood and ketamine but I don’t do drugs and then they also saw the marks on my arm, it freaked me out.“
However, 13.7 per cent (seven) of the women who were surveyed have said that they feel much safer now, with all the new safety measures being in place.
Nottinghamshire Police has also launched a series of high-visibility policing operations as part of a major safety campaign to protect women and girls on Saturday (November 27).
The monthly Police Action Nights are being funded by a grant of almost £250,000 which was secured by Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry in partnership with Nottinghamshire Police and Nottingham City Council as part of the Home Office’s Safety of Women at Night (SWaN) Fund.
Officers are working with Nottingham Express Transit (NET) to increase transport safety, aiming to offer women reassurance and protection if they find themselves at risk, as well as provide on-the-spot enforcement where necessary.
The highly visible police presence also aims to deter crime and violence and provide women with more opportunity to seek help when needed.
Commissioner Henry has also announced the launch of a ‘Safe Space’ operated by first aid charity St John Ambulance, on Friar Lane.
It is available for female safety revellers who need help or medical assistance on a night out or find themselves in danger or at risk and operates on two weekends of every month.
Inspector Arnie Ahmed, of the city centre neighbourhood policing team, said: “We are extremely pleased that Nottingham has been successful in the Home Office funding bid to improve safety for women and girls at night.
“This is just one part of the continued work we do to ensure Nottinghamshire remains a safe place to live and visit.”
A Reclaim the Night march has also taken place on Saturday (November 27) in an effort to challenge male violence against women and girls.
The women-only march, which descended from Sneinton Market to Nottingham Trent University’s Dryden Centre, was followed by a rally that included speeches from multiple activists.
Nadia Whittome, MP for Nottingham East, was meant to be a speaker at the event, but “couldn’t make it as she was unwell,” said her office spokesman.
Nottinghamshire Police have shared guidance on how to stay safe from spiking.
- Never leave your drink unattended, take it whenever you go or finish it before you hit the dancefloor.
- If someone offers you a drink, go with them to the bar and check on your drink the whole time. Don’t let them go alone because there is a chance for them to spike your drink while you are not paying attention.
- Whenever possible, get drinks from bottles as it is more difficult to insert drugs in bottles.
- Get ‘alcotops’ or ‘spikeys’ to protect your drink.
- Let someone know about your whereabouts.
- If you suspect your drink has been spiked do not drink and tell a friend or a member of staff about it. Take the drink back to the bar or pour it away straight away.
- Finally, keep an eye on your friends and make sure you go home safely.