Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Written answers 144, 145 - Legislative measures [Spiking] [7582/23, 7583/23].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Written answers 144, 145 - Legislative measures [Spiking] [7582/23, 7583/23]. (15 Feb 2023)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2023...

144. Deputy Mark Ward asked the Minister for Justice the laws and penalties that are in place for persons who is convicted of spiking another person with a drug or substance without the persons knowledge [7582/23]

145. Deputy Mark Ward asked the Minister for Justice the details of the number of reports to the gardaí of incidences of spiking another person with a drug or substance without the persons knowledge for each of the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7583/23]

Minister for Justice: Spiking a person’s drink or spiking someone by injection are very serious offences. These offences are, in effect, poisoning, and are criminal offences under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 that can result in a three-year prison term.

I can assure the Deputy that any incident of this type of crime, including those with evidence to suggest a link with ‘spiking’, will be investigated by either local Gardaí supported by, or attached to, Divisional Protective Services Units.

As the Deputy will appreciate, under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the management and administration of Garda business, including the direction of investigation priorities and the management of the PULSE system. As Minister, I play no role in these independent policing functions.

I am advised by the Garda authorities of the following number of crime incidents reported to An Garda Síochána between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2022, in which the injured party claimed to have been ‘spiked’:

Year Reported

No. Incidents







I am further advised by Gardaí that the figures contained in the table above are based on data obtained from PULSE on 14 February 2023. I am also informed by Gardaí that crime counting rules were not applied to the data and all figures are operational and liable to change. I understand from An Garda Síochána that counts are based on the presence of key text within the incident narrative and claims made by the injured party only and do not consider incident type or the result of any toxicology testing in relation to the incident.

The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017 has been widely recognised as a landmark piece of legislation dealing with consent and exploitation in sexual activity. For the first time, the 2017 Act set out in statute what consent actually means, which is a free and voluntary agreement between people to engage in sexual activity.

The 2017 Act amended the Criminal Law (Rape) Amendment Act 1990 to set out certain circumstances where consent is impossible, such as when a person is asleep or unconscious, or if they are so drunk or intoxicated that they are in no position to consider the activity and make up their mind.

The commitment of this Government to combatting domestic, sexual and gender based violence (DSGBV) and to supporting victims is reflected in the record additional €9m, or 22% increase in funding in Budget 2023. We are committed to implementing in full the commitments set out in Zero Tolerance – Third National DSGBV Strategy. An important part of this work will be on raising awareness of many DSGBV issues.

My Department is developing a number of campaigns on various DSGBV-related topics as part of the prevention and protection pillars of the new Strategy. This year, we will launch two major national campaigns, one to challenge societal attitudes and another to showcase the pathways to safety available to victims of DSGBV.

We are also working with the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre on developing messaging to inform a campaign to help create a shared understanding of the meaning and importance of consent in all sexual relationships, which is a topic of huge significance across a range of areas, including in education. Additionally, we will also launch new phases of our Intimate Image Abuse campaign and Victims of Crime awareness campaigns.

An information campaign to raise awareness of the signs of drink ‘spiking’ and to provide guidance on how to help potential victims was launched by the Government and the Union of Students of Ireland in December 2021. The initiative featured on various social media platforms and provided public 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 would urge anyone who may have been a victim or witness to an assault or sexual assault to report it to the Gardaí.

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