Official figures that show a surge in drink spiking are “not even the tip of the iceberg”, a spokeswoman for Cork’s Sexual Violence Centre has said.
While 22 people reported drink spiking to An Garda Síochána last year - a period that included several months of lockdown - 40 people have done so in 2022.
However, Dola Twomey from the Sexual Violence Centre says that, in her experience, victims rarely report their ordeal to Gardaí.
“We are hearing every day, ‘I was spiked’, ‘My friend was spiked’, ‘My friend’s friends were spiked’,” Ms Twomey told The Hard Shoulder.
“It’s something that has been happening all through the years.”
The centre created an online portal where people can report drink spiking and Ms Twomey said, “In that period, which was January to April this year, we had over 100 people actually submit their experiences to our hub.”
She also believes that the nature of the crime has evolved over time.
“We’re looking at a phenomenon that has changed quite a bit,” she said.
“In the past it wasn’t unusual for somebody to be spiked as a prelude to sexual assault.
“What’s happening now is that somehow, in some people’s brains, this is considered to be funny… and that’s why there is so much of it happening.”
Fine Gael Senator Micheál Carrigy has discussed the problem with students and says one way to combat it would be for pubs and clubs to offer lids to put on drinks.
“Every time you go into a Delhi, you’re going to get a plastic lid for your cup of coffee or your cup of tea,” he said.
“You go into every bar, there’s actually beer mats on the counter. So, I felt, why should we not put plastic lids in place to make young women in particular feel more safe?”
Main image: A man spiking a drink. Picture by: Alamy.com