Last night (3rd March), the City Council debated crucial steps for a safer night time economy for local residents and students across the city.

CN: harassment, spiking, abuse, rape, misogyny, death

The amended motion that was passed laid out a series of preventative measures to proactively tackle harassment and spiking in Cambridge. These included things such as trainings for venue staff, looking into accreditation schemes, producing accessible information resources for venues, encouraging venues to provide StopTopps and exploring further funding in the next budget cycle.

Cllr Alice Gilderdale commented that,

‘Drink spiking cannot be seen on its own without talking about the wider issue of misogyny, sexism and gender-based violence. Over the past year, this has been discussed extensively. Exactly one year ago, Sarah Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered, and since then at least 125 women in the UK have been killed at the hands of men. Gender-based violence, which includes spiking, also includes many other examples of abuse, such as stalking, harassment and sexual abuse. Often, drinks spiking is done with the aim to harass or abuse someone while they are in an incredibly vulnerable state, so these things mustn’t be taken as solely separate issues.’

She continued,

‘Spiking, the main focus of the motion last night, is a specific issue where we can take some clear steps to positively benefit residents. As a council, we should be working with our night time venues to set out clear zero-tolerance policies towards all forms of harassment. As the amendment covers, this could also include exploring accreditation schemes, training night time economy staff and improving access to information. If this is put in place, less of the responsibility would then fall on victims of spiking in those moments of vulnerability. I believe we should actively work towards creating safer spaces for all women at night, while also working hard to safeguard our residents against spiking and abuse.’

A broad discussion was held across the chamber, where Councillors noted that spiking and harassment have become increasingly common, with most women having experienced aggressive behaviour not only out at night, but on public transport, on the street or in their homes. Cllr Katie Thornburrow commented that regarding women’s safety in Cambridge, ‘everything we can do, we must do’.

Closing the discussion, Cllr Alex Collis, Exec Cllr for Open Spaces powerfully stated:

‘None of us in the chamber tonight can be in any doubt about the seriousness of this issue. Whatever form it takes – whether that’s drink spiking, injection spiking, or the wider issues of harassment and sexual violence – to act in this way is not ok. We need, as a council, to send this message out very clearly. Lots is already being done but there is lots more to think about and lots more to build on. Exploring some of these initiatives, and building on some of the excellent work already underway, will certainly move us in the right direction.’

Cambridge Labour Women will be holding a candlelight vigil ahead of International Women’s Day 2022 as part of their campaign against violence towards women. Please join us and bring a candle. Stand with us to honour women and girls who have been affected by violence. Monday 7th March 5.30-6.15pm, outside the Guildhall.

Candlelight vigil poster
Candlelight vigil poster
Link to Instagram Link to Twitter Link to YouTube Link to Facebook Link to LinkedIn Link to Snapchat Close Fax Website Location Phone Email Calendar Building Search