A 51-year-old woman who believes her drink was spiked at a “quiet bar” in Cornwall says she didn’t report what happened because she felt “overwhelming shame”.
Hannah Stratton says she realised something was wrong when her legs began feeling like lead, and felt “embarrassed” when others assumed she was drunk.
Giving evidence to a Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry, Mrs Stratton said she thought she was “far too old” to be spiked, but believes she was targeted “for fun”.
She decided not to report what happened to police because “it would have been another journey to have to go through and I don’t know if I would have been strong enough to be judged”.
The committee also heard from 19-year-old Zara Owen who described the “agonising pain” that left her limping after she believes she was spiked by injection.
She says: “The fact that someone has injected a narcotic into my body without me being aware is terrifying.”
Mrs Owen says she spoke out because she wants to make people aware of a new form of spiking, after reports last year of people being drugged by injection.
Chief executive at the Alcohol Education Trust, Helena Conibear, told the inquiry that spiking prosecutions are “extraordinarily low”, and people fear not being taken seriously.
Mrs Conibear says prevalence rates are particularly high at house parties and the LGBTQ+ community are often targeted, but says: “It can be any drink in pretty much any location and it can happen to any person.”
She added that collecting data is very challenging, but research suggests there were just nine spiking charges in 2019 and eight in 2020.
Alexi Skitinis, whose drink was also spiked, told the inquiry he didn’t report what happened because he was embarrassed and felt as a man “it wouldn’t be acknowledged as much”.
Mr Skitinis went to hospital three days after being spiked and had “severe issues” with his kidneys and liver.
He says he didn’t drink alcohol for nearly two years because what happened “took away the enjoyment of going out”.
Mrs Stratton told the committee she wants there to be an anonymous online system for reporting spiking cases and less tolerance for spiking in bars.
She says the experience left her feeling “totally and utterly powerless” and the emphasis should never be on victims keeping themselves safe.