A message to all students from Professor Anne-Marie Kilday, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student and Staff Experience

27 October 2021

Recent reports of drink spiking nationwide are very disturbing and many of you are rightly concerned about this. Everyone should be able to socialise without fearing for their own safety, and the safety of their friends.

Victims of drink spiking are absolutely not to blame, and we condemn this appalling crime which can have a lasting impact on those affected. It is a crime that carries serious consequences and the responsibility lies solely with the perpetrator. This kind of episode is a police matter, and those who are found to have done this could face significant charges.

I want to reassure you that Oxford and Swindon are generally safe places to live and study. We’re working closely with Brookes Union, local groups and the police to help everyone stay safe, and we’re part of the Safer Streets scheme to improve night-time safety for women and girls.

Signs of spiking and what to do

I understand that you may feel worried about going out - so it could help to familiarise yourself with the advice below from Drinkaware on the signs of spiking and what to do.

Symptoms of drink spiking can vary depending on what has been used. Look out for symptoms including:

  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Loss of balance
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Visual problems
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness

If you are concerned that someone you know has had their drink spiked and they are showing some or all of the symptoms above the following steps can help:

  • Tell a bar manager, bouncer or member of staff
  • Stay with them and keep talking to them
  • Call an ambulance if their condition deteriorates
  • Don’t let them go home on their own
  • Don’t let them leave with someone you don’t know or trust
  • Don’t let them drink more alcohol - this could lead to more serious problems

Reporting concerns

If you become aware that any of your friends might be thinking about spiking someone’s drink, we understand that this could put you in a difficult position. If you’ve got any concerns about this, please do talk to us. We will always respect your confidentiality, and can give you advice about what to do.

Reporting suspicious behaviours or incidents can reduce the chances of anyone suffering the potential consequences. I encourage you to contact our student welfare team, or the police. Reporting incidents is crucial in gathering intelligence and helps the police shape and target their activities. If we are made aware of any incidents involving our students, we will consider what action is appropriate under our Conduct procedures, in addition to any action which may be pursued by the police.

Supporting you

At Oxford Brookes there is a range of support for students and any student who has concerns for their own wellbeing, or another student’s welfare, can contact our student welfare team online - anonymously if you prefer.

We want you all to feel safe and enjoy socialising - please look out for yourselves and each other.