Written answers

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Department of Justice and Equality

Legislative Measures

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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254. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if it is proposed to introduce a standalone offence in relation to the spiking of drinks, in view of the serious repercussions of such deplorable behaviour and the effects on victims; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13478/24]

Photo of Helen McEnteeHelen McEntee (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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Spiking is a serious offence with potentially devastating effects on victims.

It is already a crime under section 12 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997, which provides offence of administering a substance capable of interfering with the victim’s bodily functions. Where spiking is committed with intent to commit a further offence (such as sexual assault or theft), that further offence, or an attempt to commit it, may also be charged.

A number of legislative proposals for a separate offence have been made on this issue, including most recently the introduction of a Private Members’ Bill in the Seanad in May 2023, which proposes a new offence covering the administration of a substance with intent to sedate or overpower for the purposes of engaging in a sexual act, make a gain or cause a loss, or commit any other offence. This PMB has passed the Seanad.

Submissions have been received from the DPP and the Gardaí on the relevant issues and consideration is being given to whether legislative changes are needed.

In December 2021, Minister Harris and I launched an information campaign with the Union of Students of Ireland to raise awareness of the signs of drink spiking and to give guidance on how to help a potential victim. The initiative featured on various social media platforms and gave people information on spiking – for example, what exactly spiking is, what signs to look out for, and what to do if you think you or a friend have been targeted. It also spelled out to perpetrators or potential perpetrators that spiking is a very serious offence.

I urge anyone who has been a victim of or witness to assault or sexual assault, or spiking, to report it to Gardaí.


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