Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Who's Looking after Your Glass? New Figures Reveal the Worrying Menace of Drink-Spike Rape

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Who's Looking after Your Glass? New Figures Reveal the Worrying Menace of Drink-Spike Rape

Article excerpt

Byline: By ADAM JUPP Chief Reporter

DRINK-spiking rapists are preying on one person every week in the North East.

As tens of thousands gear up for a New Year's Eve night on the town, worrying figures reveal the number of revellers being drugged and sexually assaulted across the region.

They have been released to the Chronicle by the Roofie Foundation, the UK's only charity for drug-rape victims.

Bosses fear the toll could just be the tip of the iceberg, with scores of other victims not coming forward to report the attacks against them.

The smoking ban is also being blamed for a rise in the number of people being spiked, as they discard their drinks to puff on cigarettes outside bars and pubs.

Police today gave their reaction to the figures and urged party-goers to stay safe over the holiday season.

The Roofie Foundation is Europe's only agency dealing with the issues of Drug Facilitated Sexual Abuse (DFSA) through drink spiking.

It was founded in November 1996 by solicitor Lynda Greenwood to offer support to victims after she was raped when her drink was spiked on a blind date.

The foundation provides advisory and information service for victims of DFSA.

Organisers record all reports of drug rape they receive and latest figures for last year reveal 51 of these came from the North East.

That compares to 32 in the South West, 57 in the North West and 42 in Scotland. There were 49 in Northern Ireland and 118 in London.

The figures relate to those who report being raped after having their drink spiked. The charity says hundreds of other calls come in from people who have been drugged, but not sexually assaulted.

Graham Rhodes, of the Roofie Foundation, said: "Drink spiking is definitely on the rise.

"As a result of the smoking ban, there are pubs that don't have beer gardens and people are leaving their drinks unattended to go outside.

"That is when their drinks get spiked and that can easily lead to a drug-related sexual assault or rape."

Any drug could be used to spike a drink, but the most common ones are, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), a depressant drug that comes in both liquid and powder form, fluni-trazepam, or rohypnol, commonly known as the date-rape drug. …

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