The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has partnered with LGBT+ anti-abuse charity Galop and anti-spiking charity Stamp Out Spiking to bolster its Safer Spaces Charter at a time when concerns have been raised over possible vape spiking at festivals.

Live music industry umbrella organisation LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment) has had an information request from Metropolitan Police chief inspector Matt Turner, who leads for the police nationally on Safer Spaces and VAWG (violence against women and girls).  He is understood to be keen to gauge whether there are any new trends or an increase/decrease in spiking incidents at festivals and events.

Stamp Out Spiking was established to tackle increasing incidents of spiking across the UK and worldwide by highlighting the dangers of spiking, and offering solutions to keep people safe in pubs, clubs, house parties and festivals. Galop works with LGBT+ people who have experienced abuse and violence.

AIF said the partnerships have contributed to new Safer Spaces resources that directly address the needs of LGBT+ survivors of abuse, and the broader issue of spiking. The charities will supply practical training and resources to promote best practice among staff at the association’s member festivals.

Launched in May 2017, AIF’s Safer Spaces campaign sees festivals commit to a charter of best practice developed with guidance from charities including Rape Crisis England And Wales, Good Night Out, Safe Gigs For Women, Girls Against and UN Women.

AIF’s Safer Spaces Charter states that all allegations of sexual harassment, assault and violence will be taken seriously, acted upon promptly and investigated at AIF member festivals. This is supplemented by a commitment to clear, robust reporting and disclosure procedures, including how to report incidents onsite and post event.

Galop deputy CEO Amy Roch said, “By including LGBT+ survivors in the AIF Charter, AIF is sending a powerful message that everyone deserves to feel safe and respected, and that LGBT+ specialised support is available to those who need it.”

Stamp Out Spiking founder Dawn Dines said, “We’re delighted to join forces on our mission to stamp out spiking with the Association of Independent Festivals. Working together will make such a difference in safeguarding men and women at festivals across the UK. Highlighting how these cowardly crimes are taking place, sharing key information on the typical signs and symptoms, will make it so much more difficult for perpetrators and ultimately safeguard festival goers.”

AIF membership & operations coordinator Phoebe Rodwell-Carson said, “We hope to build on this with as many festival organisers as possible, supporting them in upholding their duty of care towards music fans and festival staff, whilst ensuring we remain inclusive and open to all.”