Fine Gael Senators have introduced legislation to make spiking a standalone offence, with a penalty of up to ten years in prison.
The Non-Fatal Offences against the Person (Amendment) (Spiking) Bill 2023 has now passed Second Stage in Seanad Éireann.
The Bill is the result of an anti-spiking campaign that has been led by Young Fine Gael on college campuses throughout Ireland.
Senator Barry Ward, the Fine Gael Justice Spokesperson in the Seanad, said: “A standalone offence is the only way we can send a message on just how serious spiking is and that we will not tolerate it.
“Minister McEntee and Minister Harris have been particularly progressive in advancing a number of offences that, in a way, slip through the legislative gaps. It’s why we brought in Coco’s Law, for example, together with a campaign to make people aware not just that it is an offence to share images of an intimate nature without permission, but even to threaten to do so.
“I have never been a victim of spiking, but I have spoken to people who have been and the effect it has on them is enormous and is not to be underestimated.”
Senator Regina Doherty, Leader of Fine Gael in the Seanad, said: “We all know what spiking is and we all agree that it is a heinous crime. In most cases it is used to put the victim, a vulnerable person, in the most vulnerable position to allow the perpetrator to take advantage of them either from a motive of sexual assault, sexual violence, or robbery.
“For the victim, it is a violation of personal autonomy and consent and it genuinely robs them of their agency, it infringes upon their rights to make their own decisions independently. It undermines trust and creates an atmosphere of fear and vulnerability.
“We will be unapologetic in proposing tougher sentences, and that we make this a standalone Bill, for the perpetrators of spiking.”
In conclusion, Senator Ward praised the campaign that has led to the drafting of the Bill. “This is something which has come from the experience of the members of Young Fine Gael, who went out and spoke to their colleagues and counterparts throughout the country, in universities and elsewhere, who found out that this was a real issue that was affecting people and who have come up with a concrete answer, a response, and a solution”, he said.