Safety tips

Walking home

Best way to stay safe at night is to stick with your friends. But if you find yourself on your own, here are some tips:

  • If on campus, use our night-time walking taxi service by contacting Campus Security
  • Get a registered taxi – save some money for the end of the night, so you can be brought straight home – it’s much safer and easier
  • Get the night bus, the Uni2. Stagecoach provides a night bus until 04.35 and the route includes campus colleges and the local area.
  • Carry a personal safety alarm. You can pick one up from Campus Security
  • Keep your valuables hidden – cover-up expensive looking jewellery, mobiles, keys, cash and cards
  • Stick to well-lit and busy areas. Avoid car parks and underpasses
  • Stay alert - don't walk home on the phone or listening to music
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Services to help you stay safe while at Kent:

  • Download the free SafeZone app for quick access to first aid, security or safety assistance.
  • Contact Campus Security for their campus walking taxi service or to get help - 01227 823300.
  • View our recommended walking routes.
  • Book a registered taxi straight to your door.

Always look out for your friends. For more information on how to report any safety incidents visit www.kent.ac.uk/staysafe #StaySafe

Drink spiking – what to look out for

What is drink spiking?

People can spike others by:

• alcohol, including putting alcohol or more alcohol into a drink without a person’s consent
• a range of different prescription drugs (such as sleeping tablets)
• illegal drugs (such as cocaine, GHB or ketamine)
Drink spiking is the most common form of spiking, but other items including food and cigarettes can also be spiked. Needle spiking also became a serious concern in the latter months of 2021.

Anyone can be a victim of spiking and it is not always connected to sexual assault.  Alcohol is the most common method of drink spiking. 
Spiking someone’s drink is a crime. The responsibility and fault is always with the person spiking a drink.  It is never your fault if your drink has been spiked. 

It is important to recognise that for a variety of reasons, you (or a friend) might not want the police informed of the incident. Please note that reporting an incident, will not get you (or your friend who has been spiked) in any trouble, even if recreational drug use has taken place.

Early police reporting will help preserve additional evidence, such as by securing drinks, downloading CCTV, or taking witness details. It is the victim’s right to receive a crime number and details of the police officer who is investigating the crime. Ask for this information if it is not offered.

Although medical help should be the priority, it is the police, not healthcare providers, who usually conduct testing for spiking incidents. Police testing is done by taking a non-invasive urine sample. Some drugs leave the body in a very short time (within 12 hours), so it is important to test as soon as possible. Other drugs remain in the body longer, so testing will still be considered up to five days after the incident (increasing to seven for some drugs).

Did you know… the most common way to spike someone’s drink is by adding alcohol to a non-alcoholic drink or adding extra to an alcoholic drink. However certain drugs can also be used - these are added to alcohol and act as a powerful sedative.   

It is never your fault if your drink has been spiked. Drink spiking can be reported to the police and through the University’s online reporting tool – Report and Support. It is important to recognise that for a variety of reasons, you (or a friend) might not want the police informed of the incident. Please note that reporting an incident will not get you (or your friend who has been spiked) in any trouble, even if recreational drug use has taken place.

Did you know… the most common way to spike someone’s drink is by adding alcohol to a non-alcoholic drink or adding extra to an alcoholic drink. However certain drugs can also be used - these are added to alcohol and act as a powerful sedative.   

Recognising a spiked drink - A drink might have been spiked if: 

  • There are excessive bubbles
  • It is cloudy
  • It tastes strange or different (especially if it’s unusually bitter or salty, don’t finish it)
  • The colour has changed (if it’s lighter, darker or even blue, pour it out immediately)
  • It looks like it has been mixed
  • The ice sinks

Symptoms usually take effect within 15-30 minutes, lasting for several hours. Short term impacts can vary depending on the spiking substance. However if you, or one of your friends, has any of the following symptoms, you/they might have been spiked: 

  • Feeling that any drinks consumed have had more of an effect than they should have
  • Feeling dizzy, faint or confused
  • Passing out, nausea or vomiting
  • Feeling sleepy or unwell
  • Impaired vision or speech 
  • Memory loss
  • Feeling emotional and tearful
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Paranoia
  • Feel a sharp or sudden pain (check the affected area for an injection site.

‘I think my drink has been spiked’ - what to do:

We recognise that if your drink has been spiked you might not be capable of following the steps below.

    • If you are able to, get help straight away: tell someone you trust and get to a safe space.
    • Go to the bar staff and alert them. You can do this by asking for ‘Angela’. They will know you need help and will call you a taxi or help you out discreetly – without drawing attention to it.
    • Do not leave the venue alone or with someone you don’t know or trust.
    • Avoid consuming more alcohol.
    • Call 999 (Emergency Services) or 01223 823333 (Campus Security, if on campus).
    • Use the more specific language of ‘drugged’ or ‘poisoned’ rather than ‘spiked’ if the healthcare practitioner does not understand the term.

    We emphasise that the fault is never with the person whose drink is spiked. As a university, we do not tolerate drink spiking or any other incident of sexual misconduct and assault.

    Find out more about drink spiking on the Drinkaware website.  

I think someone I know has had their drink spiked.  

There are certain things that are worth knowing in case any of your friends ever find themselves in a difficult situation. In this section, we provide some tips on how you can help your friend if their drink has been spiked. 

There are certain things that are worth knowing in case any of your friends ever find themselves in a difficult situation. In this section, we provide some tips on how you can help your friend if their drink has been spiked. 


How to help someone if you think their drink may have been spiked. 

If your friend tells you that they feel strange, drunker than they expected to be, or suspect that their drink might have been spiked, try to not jump to conclusions as this might cause extra panic and stress for them.

You can still take some steps to keep them safe: 

  • Go to the bar staff and alert them. You can do this by asking for ‘Angela’. They will ask you about your situation and will call you and your friend a taxi or help you discreetly – without drawing attention to it.
  • Prevent your friend from consuming more alcohol.
  • Do not let them leave the venue alone or with someone you don’t know or trust.
  • Get them to a safe space and keep them talking. Take care not to ask questions that might make the victim feel they are to blame for what has happened to them.
  • Take note of the time and areas where you and your friend have been in the last 30 minutes. This will help in getting evidence from CCTV.
  • If you can, take them to the nearest A&E department and tell the medical staff that you think they have been spiked. 
  • Stay with them until the drugs or alcohol have fully left their system. It’s likely that this will be the following day, but it is important to stay with them should they be unable to look after themselves in case their symptoms get worse.
  • With their agreement, support them to report it to the police at the earliest opportunity. Call 999 (Emergency Services) or 01223 823333 (Campus Security, if on campus).
  • Use the more specific language of ‘drugged’ or ‘poisoned’ rather than ‘spiked’ if the healthcare practitioner does not understand the term.

Things to be mindful of with regard to going to the police:

Things to be mindful of with regard to going to the police:

  • After a spiking incident people are advised to have blood and urine samples taken by the police as soon as possible. Most drugs leave the body 12 to 72 hours after being taken. 
    • Make sure you wait until your friend is conscious and able to make the decision of getting their blood and urine samples tested. Consent matters here too.
  • If you still have some of the spiked drink left, keep hold of it if possible. It might be used as evidence. Give it to someone you trust until it can be given to the police. 
  • The police are aware that memory can be affected by some of the drugs used to spike drinks, but they’ll need as much detail as possible to investigate the incident. That might involve asking the person whose drink was spiked to try and remember some of the below details:
    • Do you know who spiked your drink? 
    • If you don’t know who spiked your drink, do you remember what they looked like, or any other details about them?
    • What happened throughout the evening, and after your drink was spiked?
    • Was anything taken from you? 
    • Were you physically attacked? 

Safety in the home

  • Check you’ve got smoke alarms and test them regularly
  • Keep exits clear
  • Be careful cooking – more than half of fires start in the kitchen
  • Stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of carefully
  • Close your doors at night
  • Switch off electrical appliances when you’re not using them
  • Make sure you have a gas safety certificate. Your landlord is legally obliged to make sure all the appliances in the house are safe
  • Fire safety advice from Kent Fire and Rescue Service

Protect against crime

  • Take out contents insurance on all your belongings
  • Keep valuables out of sight
  • Don’t keep spare keys hidden anywhere obvious
  • Security mark your valuables
  • When you go on holiday take your valuables with you and tell your neighbours
  • Report incidents to the police. You will need the crime reference number to make an insurance claim

Online safety

  • Use strong online passwords, don’t share them and regularly update software
  • Be aware that people you meet online may not be who they say they are
  • Protect your devices: get free anti-virus software and advice about keeping your PC, laptop and mobile devices secure
  • Email safety: how to spot clever fakes out to defraud you
  • Social media safety guidelines for students
  • Sextortion is when someone is persuaded to perform an act in front of a webcam, which is recorded by criminals, who then threaten to share the images online unless the victim pays. Find out more information and how to protect yourself on the National Crime Agency website. 
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