Drink spiking is a crime. The Government must stop feeding victim blaming culture

Today in Parliament Abigail gave notice of a motion calling out the Government's complete failure to listen to victim-survivors and advocates who have so clearly outlined the issues around drink spiking and what needs to be done. 

Abigail moved:

(1) That this House notes that:

(a) on 22 June 2023 the NSW Legislative Assembly debated a petition by What Were You Wearing (WWYW) entitled "mandatory spiking and sexual violence prevention training for security and bar staff" which called for implementation of mandatory renewed trauma-informed training for all security and bar staff at nightclubs, including spiking prevention kits, educational resources and posters in venues that will assist with patron safety,

(b) on 11 October 2023 the Minister for Racing and Gaming published a media release entitled "new campaign shines a spotlight on safe drinking this summer" which gives twelve "Think Safe to Drink Safe tips" which the Minister claims are "crucial for raising awareness of drink spiking, which is at its highest rate in New South Wales for five years",

(c) the "Think Safe to Drink Safe tips" for patrons have absolutely no relation to drink spiking or preventing drink spiking and sexual assault and are tips that merely promote safe and responsible drinking of alcohol,

(d) conflating the notion of drinking responsibly with the crime of drink spiking perpetuates the culture of victim blaming in society that prevents victims from feeling safe to come forward and report crimes of drink spiking and sexual assault, by shifting the blame of drink spiking onto victims instead of holding perpetrators to account for their actions,

(e) drink spiking and sexual assault has nothing to do with a victim's decision to drink alcohol and everything to do with the active choice of a perpetrator to commit an act of violence,

(f) public facing messaging and language are critical in informing and changing public attitudes toward violence against women, and getting this wrong is actively harmful as it reinforces the very attitudes of victim blaming and rape culture that prevent victims from reporting these crimes and seeing justice,

(g) concerningly, neither the Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault nor the organisation What Were You Wearing were consulted in the drafting of this public-facing campaign, which was made in-house and completely ignores the tireless campaigning of victims and advocates calling for genuine action to tackle issues like victim blaming, drink spiking and sexual assault,

(h) the most recent data by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) indicates that 98.7 per cent of spiking incidents recorded by NSW Police Force in 2021 did not result in criminal proceedings,

(i) the Victorian Government has a far more comprehensive and informed public-facing campaign on their website in relation to drink spiking, which clearly articulates the crime of drink spiking and informs people what to do if they suspect drink spiking or drug-assisted sexual assault, who is at risk of drink spiking and the assertion that it is never someone's fault if their drink was spiked, and

(j) listening to and platforming the voices of victim-survivors is vital in reducing and eliminating crimes of drink spiking and sexual violence.

(2) That this House calls on the Government to:

(a) immediately take down from the Government website the media release entitled "new campaign shines a spotlight on safe drinking this summer" while the Minister for Racing and Gambling engages in genuine consultation with victim-survivors and advocates,

(b) implement trauma-informed training across all relevant departments in relation to sexual violence and victim blaming, and

(c) ensure that the Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, victim-survivors, advocates and the relevant experts are consulted on all future policy and campaigns relating to drink spiking and sexual assault including any amendment to the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) guidelines.

(Notice given 23 November 2023—expires Notice Paper No. 55)

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