Personal safety tips

There are many occasions when you feel threatened. These useful tips give some good ideas on how women – and men – can keep themselves safe.

HOW TO AVOID BEING THE VICTIM OF A VIOLENT CRIME The three reasons you can become an easy target for random acts of violence are:

1.     Lack of awareness (you MUST know where you are & what’s going on around you).

2.     Body language (keep your head up, stand up straight and make eye contact if necessary).

3.     Wrong place, wrong time (DON’T be walking alone in an alley, or driving in a bad neighbourhood at night)
Out and About – Reduce the Risk

  • Try to avoid being out and about on your own, particularly after dark.
  • Wear sensible clothing and keep long hair tied back.
  • Radiate confidence not vulnerability.
  • Walk facing the traffic to avoid ‘kerb crawlers’.
  • Avoid taking shortcuts along dark alleys, parks or wasteland. Keep to the middle of the pavement away from car doors and hedges. Use only well lit, busy roads.
  • Always carry a personal attack alarm available at the Students’ Union or DIY Stores. Carry your alarm in your hand or secure to your person ensuring the cord is easily accessible/operable.  The varieties which lock into the “On” position are best.  Activate and throw it a short distance to stop the attacker grabbing it or silencing it.
  • If possible arrange to go home with a friend.
  • Let someone know what time you expect to be home.
  • Do not hitch-hike or accept lifts from strangers.
  • Cover up expensive looking jewellery.
  • If you are out late on your own, arrange to be taken home safely or call a taxi.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash or important documents such as your passport unless you need them. Passports are difficult to replace.
  • Always keep your distance when walking past strangers on the street or in dark areas.

Party time

  • Avoid travelling alone.·         
  • Think about your route to your next venue.·         
  • Only stay if the place feels right.·         
  • Be aware of groups of rowdy guys (most groups).·         
  •  Check out exits as soon as you enter a venue.·         
  • If drinking out of a bottle get into the habit of placing your thumb over the bottle top while you stand and chat.·         
  • Never enter the toilets without observing traffic in and out first.·         
  • On opening the toilet door, scan any mirrors on the walls to check blind spots before you enter the room.·         
  • Appoint a ‘Shark Watch’. Always try to have a nominated sober person to look out for the group and ALWAYS follow that person’s instruction.  THEIR WORD IS LAW!·         
  •  When you go out in a group to a party, pub or club, look out for each other and make sure that everyone you came with gets home safely. If you’re concerned about what a friend is doing, talk to them about it.·         
  • Only accept drinks from people you know.


Most of the publicity about spiking is about adding chemicals to drinks so that the drinker can be ‘knocked out’. This does happen, and it can have very serious consequences, but it is actually quite rare.A much more common ‘trick’ by far is to add extra alcohol to a drink (e.g. by ordering a double scotch instead of a single) or to give someone a lot of drinks so they lose track of what they’ve drunk. The use of alcohol and drugs is a major issue in date rape. A 1996 survey found that alcohol had been involved in 44.9 percent of sexual assaults for women 15 years and over.Alcohol is often used to loosen women up. It can lower your self-control and make you behave in ways you wouldn’t normally. You may be less able to refuse someone who’s making a move on you or pressuring you to do something you don’t want to do.

Many victims of drink spiking describe having blackouts and can’t remember what happened to them the next day.

Spiking safety tips                             

·          Only accept drinks from people you know and trust.

·          Be suspicious if someone buys you a drink and it’s not what you asked for

·          Keep your drink with you, and finish it before you go to the bathroom or onto the dance floor

·          If someone you don’t know offers to buy you a drink, go to the bar with them

·          Never share or exchange drinks with anyone

·          Look out for your mates – if they seem too drunk or too out of it for what they’ve had, they may be in danger

·          If you decide to go home with someone, introduce them to your friends (or the bar staff or security) and make sure they know others have seen them

·          Help friends get home safely after a night out, or check they’re OK before they leave with anyone

·          Always let people you have just met think you have a flatmate or live with other people

·          Don’t be too quick to trust somebody you don’t know – be careful about taking strangers at face value

·          If you feel dizzy or light-headed but haven’t had much to drink, try to get to safe place with safe people (people you know and trust).

If you think you are being followed:

  • Cross over the road, if you are followed, cross back again.
  • If you are still concerned, go to the nearest public place, a shop, pub or house with lights on and call the police on 999.
  • Do not use enclosed pay-phones, in which you could become trapped.
  • If someone tries to grab your possessions, do not resist. Try to get a good look at them, and then call the police, giving your location, the description and the direction the assailant went off in.

Always carry some cash in case you need to get a taxi:

  • Keep the number of a reliable taxi firm with you.
  • Keep the price of a phone call and taxi fare in a separate pocket to your purse.  That way if your purse or bag is stolen, you will at still have your taxi fare home.
  • Always sit behind the driver.
  • When the taxi arrives check it is the one you booked, not another touting for business – if in doubt do not get in.

If you go jogging:

  • Vary your route but try to ensure you use a well-lit route.
  • Do not use a personal stereo; you are less aware of those around you and of traffic.

If you are threatened:

  • Set off your personal alarm.
  • Scream and shout
  • Get away as quickly as possible.
  • Always ring the police immediately having retreated to a place of safety. Don’t leave it until you get home.
  • If a vehicle is involved try to note the make, colour and registration.
  • Avail yourself of self defence and safety classes, but most importantly keep yourself fit.

Driving alone ·         

  1. On approaching your vehicle have your car keys ready in your hand.  Check under your car (Attackers sometimes work in teams, with one man under the car to grab your ankles) Check the rear seats and the floor before getting into your car.·         
  2. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc, and just sit (doing their cheque book, or making a list, etc).
    DON’T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go.
  4. Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat. Check under the car as well. ·         
  5. Don’t park next to vans.  If you return to your car and find it next to a van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most attackers grab their victims by pulling them into their vans while they are attempting to get into their cars. ·         
  6.  Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out.    

  1. While driving
  • Ensure that you have sufficient fuel for your journey and that your car is regularly maintained.
  • Keep the doors locked and the windows fully closed, particularly in slow moving traffic.
  • Try to park in areas which will be well lit and populated on your return to the vehicle.
  • Do not leave valuables on the seat beside you. Use the glove compartment or place them on the floor. Be extra alert at all junctions, stop signs, traffic lights and in slow moving traffic.
  • Never pick up hitch-hikers.
  • Do not stop if you feel you are being followed by another vehicle. Drive to a public place and raise the alarm. Consider the benefits of a mobile phone.
  • If followed into your own drive do not get out of the vehicle. Ensure the doors are locked and sound your horn to attract attention.
  • When parking, reverse into the bay so you can pull out quickly and easily.
  • Never leave the keys in the ignition, even when you are away from the car for just a few minutes.
  • Never stop to aid a motorist whose vehicle appears to have broken down. Drive on and report the incident by phone.

Travelling alone on public transport:

  • Try to avoid waiting at isolated bus stops.
  • On a bus or coach, sit as close as possible to the driver.
  • Do not sit in an empty compartment on a train or tube.
  • Do not leave your handbag loose on your lap or on the seat next to you.

On returning home:

  • When arriving home to an empty house, press your own doorbell. An intruder still inside will prefer to leave quickly, so avoiding the risk of confrontation.
  • When arriving home by car or taxi ask the driver to wait until you are inside your home.
  • Have your keys ready to let yourself in quickly.  Don’t fumble for your keys on the doorstep.
  • If there are signs of intrusion when you return home do not enter. Go to a trusted neighbour or a public phone box and call the police.

Don’t be too eager to show sympathy: THINK FIRST; it may get you into serious trouble. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good looking, well-educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women? He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked “for help” into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.



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