Northern Ireland news

Call for Belfast bars and nightclubs to be boycotted in 'Girls Night In' to highlight drink spiking

Ulster University (UU) has received three reports from students who believe their drinks were spiked in Derry in the past week
Marie Louise McConville

THERE has been a call for bars and nightclubs in Belfast to be boycotted next week as part of a campaign by women to raise awareness of drink-spiking.

The `Girls Night In' initiative will take place next Wednesday has been widely shared on social media.

An Instagram post advertising the boycott read: "Unfortunately everyone knows someone who has been spiked. We deserve and demand better".

The event is part of a UK-wide initiative, originally set up by the `Girls Night In' Edinburgh group with campaigns also gathering pace in parts of England.

Nottinghamshire Police has also confirmed it is looking into multiple reports of people being "spiked physically".

It comes as Ulster University (UU) yesterday revealed it had received three reports from students who believe their drinks were spiked in Derry in the past week.

UU said that the students who had come forward had been "supported by the university's residential life team and advised to seek medical assistance and report what had happened to police".

The reports come just days after the PSNI urged anyone who believes they were victims of a "drink-spiking" incident in a Derry bar to contact them.

Officers confirmed they were aware of social media claims that up to five people had their drinks tampered with in the bar on Saturday night.

Police said they had been called to deal with one incident.

A spokeswoman said the Ambulance Service transported "a teenage girl, who believed that her drinks had been spiked, to hospital".

Yesterday, Justice Minister Naomi Long described the reports as "unacceptable and disturbing".

She said it is" absolutely horrific" that young women cannot enjoy college life "because there are those predatory individuals, abusive individuals, who are determined to act in such a violent way towards women".

Mrs Long also urged anyone who suspects their drink to have been spiked to come forward.

Speaking on BBC Radio Foyle, Mrs Long said: "We need these incidents to be reported so we have a very clear picture of the extent that this is happening in the community.

"There is work that needs to be done with men, and it is mainly men, who go out into the community feeling so entitled and so desirous of power over women that they are willing to go to these kinds of extreme lengths to spike drinks and potentially sexually assault women, because in most cases that is the outcome," she said.

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