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Crime Trackers To Help Drink Spiking Victims

With fears rising of increased numbers of women falling victim to drink spiking, a national project aims to raise awareness of the crime.
The Australian Institute of Criminology will investigate the nature and extent of drink-spiking and its connection with sexual assault.
The project, funded by the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department, will involve police, sexual assault centres, hospitals, emergency workers and the liquor industry.
The AIC will soon advertise for victims in each state and territory to take part in telephone interviews. Project manager Natalie Taylor said there was no "hard evidence nationally on drink-spiking".
SA Child and Youth Health welcomed the project and said its youth healthline, had recorded an increased number of calls relating to drink-spiking.
"This time of the year we find there is the potential for an increase in the number of spiked-drink occurrences," CYH youth services strategic manager Dorian Marsland said.
"It's starting to become the party season and more people are out and about drinking - for some it will be their first drinking experience.
"The concerns raised to us is that young people are just not sure what has happened to them or if they have been victims of sexual assault."
CYH community health worker Brad McCloud said most incidents of spiked drinks took place in isolated locations rather than bars, but cautioned young people not to underestimate the effects of alcohol.
SA police said yesterday they were concerned about drink-spiking and they were pleased to be involved with the institute's research project. One victim, Lorrene Smale, 28, had a stark warning for other young people. "Dont think it doesn't happen, because it does," she said yesterday.
Ms Smale, of Prospect, was a victim of drink-spiking four years ago when at a club dancing with some friends. After sipping her drink, which had been next to her feet, she "started to feel queasy, light-headed and sweaty",
Her friend's boyfriend had a sip of the drink and said he thought it had been spiked.
Ms Smale spent the next five hours in hospital.
Friends Jodie Scarvelis, 29, of Richmond, and Kirsti Barclay, 36, of Fulham Gardens, said they were wary and never accepted drinks from strangers.

Adelaide Advertiser (28-10-2003)
Louise Treccasi


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