Drink spiking in St Ives is 'not taken seriously enough' says concerned dad
- Credit: CAMBS POLICE
A campaign to raise awareness around drink spiking in St Ives has been launched by a concerned father whose daughter was targeted on a night out.
Dan Sly’s 20-year-old daughter was taken to A&E after her drink was spiked at an event in the town just before Christmas.
Since then, Mr Sly has taken matters into his own hands to find out the truth about similar incidents in St Ives.
He setup an online survey, as well as Facebook page Anti Spikers of St Ives (ASSI).
He explained: “I don’t think this is an issue taken seriously enough – especially in St Ives.
“My daughter was at an event and I got a call to go and pick her up at 2am and then she ended up at A&E.
“Although I was aware of drug spiking, I don’t think you know much about it until it happens to you.
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“The young girls are mainly the victims, although it can happen to men too.
“The problem is, these incidents aren’t reported, so they aren’t taken seriously.”
Thankfully, Mr Sly’s daughter recovered from the incident and it was reported to Cambridgeshire police.
“I put the survey together online to see who else in St Ives had been affected,” Mr Sly continued.
“I’ve had people contact me privately of all ages saying that they have been a victim of drink spiking in recent months.
“I have had horrific stories relayed to me. It’s been a real eye opener.”
Mr Sly is eager for more awareness to be raised and responsibility to be taken by venue owners.
He said: “It seems to me that places just put a poster up and ask people to cover their drinks. But that isn’t good enough, they need to be proactive with safeguarding procedures and training.
“I set up the Facebook page to encourage people to report any incidents too.
“It is a very complex crime that is difficult to stop.
“I am not trying to change the world; I just want to make it a safer place in St Ives.
“It’s something I can't just walk away from after it happened to my daughter.”
And it isn’t just the physical effects that have impacted victims – but mental ones too.
Many are cautious of going out again in fear that something may happen.
“People feel scared to report drink spiking as they feel they won’t be believed,” Mr Sly added.
“So then there’s a huge mental health impact too, yet the predators know this so they get away with it.
“If it means that by doing this [campaign] it encourages people to speak out about it then I will have achieved something.
“I think more men need to be aware that this happening too.”
A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire police said: “We have received one report of drink spiking in St Ives in recent months.
“We take all reports of spiking extremely seriously and encourage all victims to report any concerns they may have to police or a member of bar staff or security as soon as possible.
“All reports made to us are investigated thoroughly and all lines of enquiry considered.
“Last year there was in increase in the number of reported incidents of spiking in the county, particularly in Cambridge.
“We have increased patrols for the night time economy as a result, with the use of uniformed and plain clothed officers.
“We have also supplied additional training to door staff, taxi marshals and CCTV operators which is focused on searching for predatory behaviour and supports our ongoing work with licensees.”
Drink spiking is when someone puts drugs or alcohol into your drink without you knowing.
There are many reasons why someone might spike a drink. Most commonly it could be to carry out a sexual or physical assault.
For more information on ASSI visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/antispikersofstives