Take responsibility for your personal safety
Working late or nights out
According to a Guardian analysis of crime data survey relating to personal safety, older women are most likely to feel unsafe walking alone after dark but among the least likely to be attacked. Meanwhile, young men tend to express few fears about their safety, but experience more personal crime than any other group.
It is hard to believe that in this day and age with CCTV on every corner, a person can still be assaulted on their way home from a night out or work. Sadly, CCTV doesn’t seem to be a deterrent. According to Rapecrisis UK, 400,000 women and 9,000 men will be the victim of sexual assault. Also shocking is how 1 in 5 women will be a victim of stalking in their lifetime.
You cannot always rely on others to look out for your best interests.
So here are a few simple precautions to help keep you safe.
Make sure your mobile is charged and able to make calls when you go out in case of an emergency or if you lose the people you are with.
If possible, get your cash out during the day… & on that note:
Cash machines, check for signs of interference, never accept a strangers help when using the machine and be aware of those around you. Never let you card out of your sight in shops, restaurants & bars to prevent cloning.
Its very easy to do something risky or foolish when you are drunk and you’re more likely to lose your belongings.
Eat before you go out, drink plenty of water when you are out to avoid getting drunk
(you’ll be pleased you did in the morning too!)
Never leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from a stranger, drinks DO get spiked with drugs.
Keep your bag closed, if its open an opportunist thief can see what you have and take it
Don’t be over protective of your belongings if you are a victim of crime (the chances are low), after all you can get a new phone, bank cards etc, If you find yourself in a dangerous situation leave your possessions and seek help in the nearest safe place.
Personal Safety – Getting Home – Plan ahead
Try to leave a pub or club with friends, keep money you need to get home separate so that you don’t spend it, and pre-book a licensed taxi or know the locations of official taxi ranks, public transport times.
Personal Safety – Taxi’s
Use only a licensed taxi service
Feel uneasy about the driver- follow your instincts, if in doubt don’t get in the car
Personal Safety – Your car
Make sure you have enough fuel to complete your journey
Park in an area that’s busy when you arrive & leave and also has good lighting
Never give a stranger a lift
Personal Safety – Public Transport
Wait in a well-lit place with other people nearby
Someone bothering you – Tell the guard or driver, wait with them if you still feel uncomfortable
Empty bus – Sit downstairs near the driver
Train – Sit in an occupied carriage, move carriage if necessary
Personal Safety – Walking Home – be vigilant
If you do find you have to walk home alone in the dark, avoid badly lit areas, parks, alleyways, underpasses etc.
Avoid using your phone (unless its an emergency) in isolated places, it can distract you from your surroundings.
Carry a personal alarm. Many men think they are a female accessory, but figures show that males are at a higher risk of being attacked on the street.
Personal attack alarms can buy vital seconds for anyone enduring an assault and have been proven to deter would-be attackers by 97 per cent. Some companies with night shifts have even started issuing personal attack alarms to their night workers.
Personal attack alarms are also evolving. Over the last few years they have become more compact, with a distinct sound. They’ve also improved with activation. Many old attack alarms had a cord, which was designed to be pulled out if someone felt threatened. However, these were found to be easily activated if they got caught on something or considered to difficult to activate whilst trying to fend off a potential attacker. Many assault alarms are now activated by squeezing the sides of the device or pressing a button.
The loud shrill sound of the alarm tends to deter the attacker and cause them to run off. If it doesn’t deter them, try placing the alarm right next to the ear. The shock of a high pitch sound can cause momentary deafness and confusion. This could buy the vital seconds you require to push your attacker away and run to safety. Amazingly, despite their effectiveness, only 3% of women in the UK carry a personal attack alarm. These really can make all the difference is you are isolated and facing a potential assault. Please purchase one and keep it in your coat pocket or on your keys, just somewhere that is instantly accessible if put in this horrifying position.
Personal Safety – It can be tempting to walk & instantly plug in your earphones, but this is costing you one of your most vital senses; your sense of sound, you cannot sense anyone walking behind you or hear oncoming traffic. Sense is everything when trying to avoid an assault. It can help to determine the speed at which someones walking, the proximity of their footsteps. Your ears become key if too nervous to risk a glance backwards.
If you do feel someone is following you, try crossing the street; a couple of times if necessary; to see if they follow you each time. If they do continue to stick to your route, remain calm and take out your mobile phone whilst walking, do not stop. If you are far from home and don’t know if any shops are open, call the police from your mobile. If you know you are approaching a shop or a business which is open, then call a friend or family member and tell them where you’re heading. Once inside the shop or business, remain there and call the police. Do not under any circumstances stop walking or use a phone box. Someone intending to commit an assault will use the phone boxes small space against their potential victim and block them in.
Whilst we can’t guarantee your personal safety, hopefully this information will make you think & prepare.
We can not tell you how to defend yourself or even what you’ll do if placed in this situation, but if you feel you are going to be assaulted, worth remembering that your elbows are the strongest part of your body, whilst the eyes are the weakest. If it is possible for you to get away, leave your belongings and run to the nearest house, shop, car etc…Make as much noise as you can to draw attention to your location. As soon as you feel safe to do so, call the police.
Many leisure centres now also offer self defense classes. For more information on safety in your area, you can go to your local police station for advise or check out their website.
Personal Safety Key Points to remember
Tell someone responsible where you are going & when you expect to be back
Where possible don’t walk alone
Try to stay in well lit, busy areas