Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1918 ..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
conducted in universities and CIT campuses and over 40,000 copies of printed material have been distributed. This campaign could be expanded into clubs and secondary schools. Night-spot operators could be better trained in improving security to reduce the incidence of drink spiking, as well as in spotting and treating any victims. Dance venues could be equipped with proper medical rooms and maybe even surveillance mechanisms, such as CCTV.
GPs and others in victim support services could be trained to spot drink spiking and report it if they suspect that it had happened. Centralised reporting procedures for collecting data about drink spiking could be developed and police databases could be updated so that they can be specifically interrogated for information about drink spiking. Support services and the police could be trained about how to report drink spiking and then that information could be used by education and health bodies to develop prevention programs. Other initiatives could include free water at dance parties and nightclubs, more responsible serving of alcohol, advertising on water bottles, and posters in night spots and music and fashion stores. I think it is important that we be creative when we tackle this problem and that we use the expertise of a wide range of people and organisations-the Federal Police, who have already done so much, young people and club patrons, club and venue operators, medical and counselling services, and government departments.
It is important in addressing drink spiking in the ACT not to create an atmosphere of fear and distrust, as to do so could have a significant negative impact on people's social lives. Rather, the initiatives taken should empower people by letting them know what to look out for and how to deal with it and also by letting them know that the entire community is tackling the problem from all angles. Dance parties and nightclubs often form a significant part of the social lives of people, especially young people. If access to these sorts of events and entertainment was limited through fear or mistrust, it could have a significant impact on the lives and culture of young people and the livelihoods of those involved in that industry.
We are faced with the problem of drink spiking in our community and it is a serious one. We should address it and we should do so promptly. This motion does that with a minimum of fuss by accepting that this problem needs a broad approach and that any program to tackle drink spiking must encompass awareness raising and education as well as law enforcement and prevention. I urge all members here to show their support for the Canberra community and to show the seriousness with which we view community safety by supporting this motion and supporting the ministers as they work towards creating a safer, more aware Canberra. I commend this motion to the Assembly.
MS DUNDAS (11.47): I rise to support the motion moved by Ms Gallagher and to add some comments on the issue. Drink spiking is an issue that hit the headlines some nine months ago in Canberra. Since that time, drink-spiking messages have been sent out using the media and the club industry. Drink spiking normally occurs for the purpose of committing a second crime, most often sexual assault, drug rape or date rape. Date rape is a hideous crime that is misunderstood and often unreported. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has estimated that nearly 70 per cent of the sexual assaults on young women are committed by men known by the victims. Most of these young women do not report the crime and often blame themselves for the incidents.