A woman said she left her drink unattended for a few minutes and believes it was spiked.
A woman said she left her drink unattended for a few minutes and believes it was spiked. Contributed

'Traumatised': Woman's evening destroyed in minutes

IT IS something not widely reported, but a woman who had her drink spiked has decided to speak out.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said she had been enjoying an evening out at a pub in Coffs Harbour when she left her drink unattended while she went to the bathroom.

"I was gone for just two and a half minutes and when I got back I finished my beer and then, bam, I was off my face." She said.

"You feel paranoid, you feel traumatised and you feel abused. It was like riding a roller-coaster."

The woman issued a warning to others to watch their drinks and wanted the perpetrators to "grow up".

While there was anecdotal evidence of spiking occurring, statistics show few reported instances of drink spiking, considered a form of assault, in either the Clarence Valley or Coffs Harbour region.

Statistics from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research showed there had only been one recorded case of drink spiking in the Clarence Valley LGA between April 2014 to March 2019.

That figure was higher in the Coffs Harbour LGA with six recorded in the same period and there were 561 cases across the state of NSW.

While the number of recorded cases remains relatively low there has been considerable debate over the true number of cases, as some women felt there was a culture of victim blaming which was a block to reporting the crime.

Some women did not report the crime due to a sense of shame, embarrassment or because they thought they would not be believed.

A spokesperson for the NSW Police Service said it was vital any cases of potential drink spiking were reported to the police so that they could investigate and do what they could to find the person responsible.

"While it is not widespread, we know for a fact that drink spiking does occur and it can lead to sexual assault."

Tamahra Manson, Violence Abuse and Neglect Manager at Northern NSW Local Health District said that while they did not keep data in relation to drink spiking, NNSWLHD provided crisis counselling, medical and forensic services for victims of sexual assault through specialist services located in emergency departments.

"A review of available data within the Clarence Valley Sexual Assault Service has shown no change in presentation numbers within the past six months," she said.