This week Bath MP Wera Hobhouse joined a debate calling for action on drink spiking across the UK. This follows the Bath Night In campaign which saw young people in Bath boycott clubs to demand action to tackle the increase in cases of spiking across the UK.
Speaking in the debate, the MP for Bath reiterated her support for women who took to the streets to boycott nightclubs in a campaign against the rise of spiking incidents. She quoted one constituent who asserted that “not only have I been spiked myself, but so have two of my close friends and nameless other girls I know.”
Mrs Hobhouse also repeated her calls to make misogyny a hate crime. She argued that the current culture allows crimes such as spiking to continue without sanctions.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council has reported almost 200 confirmed incidents of drink spiking across the UK in the past two months alone. In some cases women have been spiked using syringes, raising further questions over safety in clubs.
In response to the increase, and after considerable correspondence from worried residents of Bath, Wera wrote to the Home Secretary calling on her to convene a conference of police chiefs across the country so we can get a full picture of this awful situation. Mrs Hobhouse sees this as part of a wider societal problem - a culture of deep-rooted misogyny that is prevalent within today's society.
Speaking after the debate, Mrs Hobhouse said:
“There is an epidemic of violence against women and this is the latest manifestation. Ultimately, drink spiking comes from the ‘pick-up’ culture driven by misogyny. Making misogyny a hate crime would stamp out this culture. It is completely unacceptable. Women should be free to go out and enjoy themselves without the fear of being spiked.
“Whilst I agree with using things like testing strips, these measures are ultimately mitigation. We need to stop awful situations like this from developing in the first place. Making misogyny a hate crime will cut this out at the very beginning.”