Wollongong is the third most affected area for reported incidents of drink spiking in the state according to a recent BOSCAR report, with local victims calling for more to be done to stop the crime.
Via the Wollongong Students Buy and Sell Facebook page:
Credit: Emily Thompson
Credit: Effy Costigan
Credit: Kyle-James Kinlay
However drugged beverages aren’t the only way locals are falling victim, with nineteen year old Bree Ullman stabbed by a needle at a Wollongong nightclub last August.
‘’I was at the bar ordering a drink. I felt a pinch in my hand but brushed it off,’’ Miss Ullman said.
‘’I immediately felt sick, so I went to the bathroom. From there my memory goes blank.
‘’My friend said she found me vomiting in the bathroom barely conscious.’’
Incidents such as these raise the question on whether venue owners are doing enough to prevent spiking or effectively deal with the aftermath of such events.
In Miss Ullman’s experience, she felt the night club security failed to take her allegations seriously.
‘’The security did nothing, they just kicked me out after being told I had been spiked,” Miss Ullman said.
“They said there’s nothing they could do about it.”
A bartender at a local club, who asked to remain identified, believes education around spiking and prevention has not changed the behaviour of patrons.
‘’Honestly, there’s not as much fear as there should be. Every night I see girls and guys leaving their drinks out in the open and out of their view,’’ she said.
‘’They only worry about the money they lost and never think about the risk of leaving it for anyone to tamper with.’’
Although safety remains a priority for alcohol servers in training, the bartender feels prevention of spiking is often an afterthought for club owners.
‘’It’s assumed us bar staff get training in our RSA, but it’s not until there’s an incident that all the staff are briefed on protocol,’’ she said
‘It really depends on the business and how much they care, but there’s only so much we can do to prepare.’’
In the event of a suspected spiking the NSW Police advice is to ask someone you trust to help you get to a safe place, to go to the nearest emergency department if you feel unwell or have been sexually assaulted and to ask your doctor to test for the presence of drugs up to 24 hours later.
The member of bar staff provided some helpful safety tips:
In an emergency, telephone triple zero (000) or the nearest police station.
For information about sexual assault, or for counselling or referral, call 1800RESPECT.