Criminal Injury

Spiking Incidents and Criminal Injuries, What You Need to Know

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Nicola Bailey-Gibbs

Manager & Associate Solicitor

4 min read time
23 Dec 2021

Nicola Bailey-Gibbs, Associate Solicitor in criminal injuries says spiking is a crime that needs reporting 

It’s that time of year when going out should be one of the highlights of the year. 

Christmas parties, New Year’s Eve and meeting up with friends, these are often the times when memories are made. 

What shouldn’t be on your Christmas list is worrying about whether someone might spike your drink.  

We should all have the right to enjoy a night out without fear of crime, but sadly, spiking incidents are on the rise. 

Things have taken a turn for the worse recently with a number of reports of spiking injections. 


Being spiked is never the fault of the victim and police are taking it seriously. 

Here in Hull, after a worrying rise in incidents Humberside Police are now handing out spiking testing kits to the city’s bars and clubs. 

The kits can recognise up to 20 different drugs between four and 24 hours after the spiking is suspected to have occurred. 

A urine sample obtained from these new kits will quickly identify what substances may have been used and offer support to victims whilst forensic enquiries are made. 

If you have been spiked, whether it was your drink or by injection, make no doubt about it a crime has been committed against you and you should report it. 

Spiking and The Law 

Slipping alcohol or drugs into someone’s drink is against the law, even if the drink is not swallowed or the person is not harmed.  

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 states it’s an offence to administer a substance to a person with intent to overpower that person and to enable sexual activity with them.  

It’s punishable by up to 10 years in prison.  

The same would be true of needle spiking which would also be a physical assault. 

Spiking and Criminal Injuries 

If you have been a victim of spiking, you could be entitled to make a criminal injury claim if, following the incident, there was a physical or sexual assault, or if the spiking caused a stroke, seizure or another medically recognised condition.  

Even if the perpetrator was never identified, caught, or convicted you may still be able to make a claim. 

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority has helped thousands of people secure compensation for criminal injuries which has helped them to get their life back on track. 

Please download a copy of our  Criminal Injuries Guide. 

How to protect yourself from spiking while out 

We know you shouldn’t have to, but here are some tips on how you can keep yourself safe from spiking while out: 

  • Don’t accept drinks from strangers
  • Always buy your own drink and watch it being poured.  
  • Never leave your drink unattended while you dance or go to the toilet. 
  • Don’t drink or taste anyone else’s drink. 
  • Throw your drink away if you think it tastes odd. 
  • Use glass covers and bottle stoppers. 

What if you think you have been spiked (by drink or needle)? 

  • If you start to feel strange, sick or drunk when you know that you couldn’t be drunk, seek help from a trusted friend or the venue management. 
  • If you think you have been spiked, get a close friend to get you out of the place as soon as possible and take you home or to hospital (if seriously unwell). Or ring a friend, relative or partner and ask them to come and pick you up. 
  • If you feel unsafe, vulnerable, or threatened you can ask for help by approaching venue staff and asking them for ‘Angela’. This code-phrase indicates to staff that you need help, and a trained member of staff will then support and assist you. 
  • Make sure you can trust the person you ask for help. Don’t go anywhere with a stranger or acquaintance. 
  • Once you are safely home ask someone to stay with you until the effects of the drug have worn off, which could be several hours. 
  • Don’t hesitate to call for medical help if you need it. And do tell the police what happened. 
  • If you have been sexually assaulted, you can contact a sexual assault referral centre for support – find your nearest on the NHS website. 


Report incidents to police

In an emergency, always call 999. Most drugs leave the body within 72 hours and the “date-rape drug” GHB leaves the body within 12 hours, but it’s important to get tested as soon as possible. 

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Spiking Incidents and Criminal Injuries, What You Need to Know

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