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Victims of drink spiking urged to ring new hotline

Media Release

17 November 2003

Media release from Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Hon Chris Ellison

Victims of drink spiking have been urged to ring a new interview hotline to tell their stories in the first phase of a new national drink spiking project launched today by the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison.

Senator Ellison said the hotline will enable trained interviewers from the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) to conduct confidential interviews with people who believe they may have been the victim of drink spiking in the last two years.

Drink spiking has been identified as a priority by the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy and occurs where drugs or alcohol are added to a person's drink without their knowledge or consent.

"This AIC free-call hotline (1800 008 125) starts today and will allow victims of drink spiking to tell their stories on a completely anonymous and confidential basis," Senator Ellison said.

"This is the first element of a National Drink Spiking Project, which will provide a clearer understanding of the nature and extent of drink spiking in Australia and identify effective communication and education strategies."

"The Project is funded by the Australian Government's National Crime Prevention Program and the States and Territories."

Stage One of the project is being conducted by the AIC, and will assist in providing a better understanding of where, when and how drink spiking occurs.

Once this data has been compiled, a targeted communication and awareness campaign will provide information to workers at the frontline to allow for quicker identification and subsequent treatment.

This will involve information packages for key sectors that come into contact with potential victims, such as police, the liquor industry, sexual assault workers and hospitals.

Information from both Australia and overseas indicates that while drink spiking is often under-reported, it can have serious consequences for victims and is often associated with other types of crime such as sexual assault or robbery.

Although drugs such as Rohypnol and Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) have commonly been thought to be associated with drink spiking, recent research and consultation suggests that alcohol is also a key substance used in drink spiking and may even be more prevalent in drink spiking than other types of drug.

"Given the completely anonymous and confidential nature of these interviews, I encourage anyone who believes they have had their drink spiked within the last two years to contact this new hotline," Senator Ellison said.