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Minister calls for collaboration to tackle 'absolutely horrific' spiking of students
24 May 2022, 16:11
Universities Minister Michelle Donelan has called for a collaborative approach to tackle the spiking of students.
The Tory Minister has spoken to LBC's Shelagh Fogarty on the subject, after LBC last year reported that a spiking epidemic is plaguing the UK's top universities.
Her exchange with Shelagh has also come as the Department for Education and Home Office have launched a new working group dedicated to tackling the number of spiking attacks against students.
A press release from the Home Office and Department of Education concerning the working group said: "Universities Minister Michelle Donelan has called for and convened the group, which will bring together vice-chancellors, police, campaigners and victims to produce plans for practical action to help keep students safe, reporting back before the start of the autumn term.
"Professor Lisa Roberts, University of Exeter Vice Chancellor, has been appointed to lead the working group and coordinate the higher education sector’s response.
"Following personal experience with a victim of spiking, Minister Donelan will ask every university to introduce a policy on tackling spiking by the end of the year to ensure victims are recognised and supported."
Speaking to Shelagh, the Minister expressed her view that the way to address issue of spiking of students is "in collaboration".
Speaking of the working group, she added: "We had the first meeting today to get the ball rolling and that was very much the clear takeaway - that everybody wanted to work together, that there was that momentum and will to try and deliver tangible change.
"This is horrific incidences that we are talking about, absolutely horrific."
The Universities Minister also told Shelagh that evidence from "various studies" shows that "the majority of people that are victims of spiking tend to be students".
She continued: "But of course that doesn't take place on the whole on their campuses or on their further education properties. It happens in the wider community, including in the night-time economy.
"And that's why it's important that everybody sits round the table [and] works together.
"There will be a report coming forward and actions will be in place for the new term starting in the autumn.
"And this is something that I care very passionately about, having spoken to a number of students and heard first-hand the incidences that they've been involved in and the toll that it placed not just on them but also their friendship groups and their wider families.
"It is important that students can feel safe - it's a basic minimum, isn't it? - and to be able to enjoy the wider student experience."