Campaigner says door staff in Blackpool need to do more to help drink-spiking victims

Victims of spiking are apparently ‘completely mistreated’ by door staff, and made to feel like they are to blame, meaning they are reluctant to take the complaint any further.

Although there are plenty of decent bar and door staff in the resort, she pointed out that a recent string of incidents has shown an alarming trend.

Antonia Charlesworth-Stack runs an online map where women can anonymously report incidents of sexual harassment.

She told the Gazette: “Bouncers are the first port of call, and when women receive this negative ‘victim-blaming’ response from the first person they ask for help why would they then expect to be believed by authorities?”

The Reclaim Blackpool map has several examples where women say they have been randomly targeted in bars and clubs in the resort.

And there have been a string of around ten spiking incidents reported – all from the same nightclub on Talbot Road – over the last week, Antonia said.

One person wrote on the map that they ‘fear for [their] life’ when they go out.

Kicked out and left on the street

A 20 year old woman described how when she was spiked, the ‘door and bar [staff] did not care whatsoever. [They] kicked us out of the club and left us on the street outside’.

Antonia says it’s likely to be ‘just a snapshot’ of the real number of spiking incidents, as for a variety of complex reasons, victims often don’t report when it happens to them.

‘The guy then had time to finish his drink, wink at her and leave’
She recalls an incident where a woman complained to staff when she saw someone put something in her drink.

They poured a fresh drink, at the bar on Talbot Road, Antonia said it was ‘absolutely horrible’ that the management allowed the man to stay.

Antonia said: “They tested it, found it had been spiked so they gave the woman a new drink but they didn’t kick the guy out. The guy then had time to finish his drink, wink at her and leave.”

Hard to prove

She described the response from authorities as ‘a lottery’ – some were made to feel at fault, and while other instances simply resulted in nothing being done as it can be hard to prove.

“Some clubs just seem to be in complete denial, some have been told girls just can’t handle their drink. I once reported an incident to the police on behalf of someone else and the kind of questions that I was asked were so accusatory – and it wasn’t even me that was spiked.

‘Staff need to believe victims’

Management and door staff need retraining so their first response when a person says they’ve been spiked is to believe them.”

Recent incident at Trilogy Nightclub

While the incidents have happened at a number of venues around Blackpool, Trilogy recently issued a statement after a woman posted on social media that she’d been spiked at the club on Saturday evening (July 22).

Trilogy told the Gazette they were aware of the alleged incident and that they were working with the police to investigate the report.

Site Director Matt Taylor said: “We are always willing and able to work with the authorities on any investigation they carry out.

“We take our customers’ safety very seriously and strive to provide great and safe nights out for them.”

They added that they “employ a vigilant security team that is fully trained and insured to handle sensitive situations and spot suspicious behaviour, as well as always striving to be approachable to customers, if they have any concerns.”

Source – Blackpool Gazette