67 per cent of Leeds students don’t feel safe on nights out

93 per cent of students worry about their friends on nights out

CW: Discussion of spiking, sexual harassment and sexual assault

A survey conducted by The Leeds Tab with over 700 responses discovered that 67 per cent of students said they don’t feel safe on a night out in Leeds.

Students in Leeds shared their experiences of spiking with The Leeds Tab recently, and a further survey on our Instagram has uncovered the astounding numbers of students who are scared whilst on a night out.

It revealed that 109 Leeds students told The Leeds Tab that they have had their drink spiked whilst on a night out, accounting for 10 per cent of votes.

Here are the full results from the survey:

422 students told The Leeds Tab they know someone who has been spiked in Leeds (over 58 per cent).

45 per cent of Leeds students have been sexually assaulted in night clubs in Leeds, with 529 students also being sexually harassed.

60 per cent of students now claim to avoid certain clubs in Leeds due to prior experiences with sexual harassment/assault and drink spiking.

78 per cent of students say safety is a big consideration when planning a night out.

81 per cent worry about how they will get home after a night out, with Uber having troubles with low driver numbers and the night bus (N1) stopping after 2:30AM, leaving many students to walk home (sometimes alone) after a night out.

84 per cent of students said clubs don’t do enough to make them feel safe on a night out.

76 per cent told The Leeds Tab they don’t feel safe approaching club staff for help.

67 per cent of Leeds students said the proposed measures by clubs won’t make them feel any safer.

‘Last night I was spiked, blacked out, had a fit, collapsed and had to be carried out’

It comes after drink spikings are still on the rise alongside spiking injections, posing severe health and safety risks to the victims, as well as anxiety when trying to enjoy a night out.

The concerning rise in drink spiking has led to a large social media response, with a countrywide boycott of clubs taking place next Wednesday, 27th October.

@girlsuncutleeds spoke to The Leeds Tab about the Leeds Girls Night In initiative, where societies and students in Leeds are boycotting nightclubs on Wednesday, 27th October to raise awareness of the spiking epidemic rushing around the country.

They told us: “The boycott isn’t to take away from club revenue or stunt club traffic.

“More to bring attention and to open a dialogue with the clubs, which is what we’ve seen happening.”

‘I was spiked in Freshers’ Week and so were two of my flatmates’

Charlotte*, a Leeds student and two of her flatmates were spiked during Fresher’s Week, despite taking precautions and “never putting [her] drink down.”

She had only had three drinks that night, but remembered it tasting flat. After noticing this, she walked back to her accommodation with her friends and “completely collapsed outside [her] accommodation,” with her “eyes rolling back.”

Charlotte made the trip to A&E and was dismissed by a female receptionist who she claimed told her “well why don’t you just buy bottled drinks then?”. Charlotte was looked after at the hospital for over six hours, and the incident was reported to the police who seemed disinterested.

She told The Leeds Tab she has “never been so anxious, I can’t stop thinking about it, it’s making me ill.”

Taken from our survey results on our Instagram

I was ‘groped multiple times on my first night out ever’

One student, Harry*, told The Leeds Tab: “Club staff let a random girl pick me up from the [medical] room and she ended up sexually assaulting me.”

‘Stop bouncers from being wankers’

A large number of Leeds students discussed their concerns with bouncers, who often dismiss club goers as being “too drunk,” with club staff often not listening to those spiked or those worried about someone who they believe has been spiked.

Some clubs in Leeds are known for also refusing drinks to be taken into the smoking area. Instead, people have to leave their drinks unattended on a table, at severe risk of being spiked as they haven’t been able to watch their drink.

It seems a large consensus of students surveyed agree that there needs to be a shift in perspective from victim shaming to focusing on perpetrators, “e.g. threatening to call police if caught with needles/spiking”.

Shaun* told The Leeds Tab one of the main issues is to “stop kicking people out for being too drunk and instead take them to a separate room.”

Change is necessary

Many clubs in Leeds are aware of the spiking epidemic, and assuring students change will be enforced immediately.

VOODOO Events have told students that they are “reinforcing our already robust health & safety protocols to offer anti spiking devices free of charge, 100 per cent search policy & entry via security arches, extra security wearing body cams, fully trained staff and our specialist welfare team including two on site medics managing our medical room.

“We will continue to work together with local law enforcement, the Student’s Unions and student welfare agencies on prevention, guest welfare and development of support strategies.”

LOOSEDAYS said they are “aware of the risking numbers of drink spiking cases In both our cities and across the country. We are disgusted at this occurring and are working closely with out event venues on how to help eradicate this issue and making a safe environment for everyone to enjoy a night out.

“We will be working closely on a following action plan immediately. Doorman increasing their searches of each individual. CCTV will be monitored closely for suspicious activity. Extra LOOSEDAYS staff to speak to incase of emergency. We will be looking to invest in Drink Caps / Lids. Offering spike test kits immediately.”

UTOPIAR, one of their club nights at the super club CARGO which faced issues on their opening night posted on their Instagram: “Door staff will increase their searches on entry, including bag searches. Metal wands will be used to detect needles.

“We are taking action. We will beat this together.”

Below is a list of links and helplines which can provide support and guidance for victims of spikings, injections and assault:

Symptoms of drink spiking and how to look after a victim of spiking

NHS guidance on what to do if you are injured with a dirty needle

Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds

NHS guidance on help after rape or sexual assault

West Yorkshire Police guidelines on spiking

Or you can text “SHOUT” to 85258 for free, 24/7 mental health support

If you or anyone you know suspects they have been spiked, call 999 immediately for medical help. Alternatively, if you have been affected by any of these stories and need to reach out, contact Refuge on their free 24/7 helpline 0808 2000 247 or contact Rape Crisis online for a free confidential chat helpline. You can also reach out to Victim Support on 0808 1689 111, or contact them on their free 24/7 chatline.

Names marked with an (*) have been changed on the grounds of preserving anonymity.

Related articles recommended by this writer:

• ‘She couldn’t even stand up’: Leeds students share their experiences of spiking

• Girls are reporting being spiked by injection – I’m terrified to go clubbing

• Over 2,600 young people believe they’ve been spiked already this term