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Friend of Tortoise Exclusive

Unspiked: what did we learn from the “epidemic” that never was?

Unspiked: what did we learn from the “epidemic” that never was?

This event is exclusive to Friends of Tortoise

This is a digital-only ThinkIn.

Earlier this year, a Tortoise investigation found that last autumn’s “needle spiking epidemic” almost certainly didn’t happen – at least not in the way it was reported to have done. But that’s not the end of this story. Our research unearthed as many questions as it did answers. Why is there no crime code for drink spiking? If we don’t know how big the problem is, what steps can we take to fix it? Why do police toxicology reports take anywhere between three months to a year to come back?  What does the “spiking epidemic” phenomenon of last autumn tell us about women’s trust in the police, and trust between women and men more generally? Might believing alleged victims without scrutiny do more harm than good in the long run? 

This ThinkIn is part of Tortoise Investigates: Police and Misogyny. A year-long collaboration between Tortoise reporters and members, this project seeks to explore the way police culture consistently permits the failure to prosecute, and sometimes even to investigate, sexual and violent crime against women and girls.

If you have an experience to share that would help our investigation, on or off the record, please contact liz@tortoisemedia.com.

editor and invited experts

Liz Moseley

Patricia Clarke
Tortoise Data Journalist and Reporter

Vickie Burgin
Science Director, Forensic Capability Network