Here are some tips to help you stay safe when you are out and about:
- Try to stay with at least one friend. Plan your journeys home before you go out and try to stick to your plan. If you are using public transport to get home, check what time the last bus or train leaves. Look after each other, even it means leaving a bit earlier than you wanted to
- If you are using a taxi to get home, book it before you go out. Have couple of phone numbers for taxi firms in your mobile phone. Tell someone what time you are expected home, where you are going and who with – you’re never too old to look after yourself
- If you drink to excess, you increase your vulnerability. Don’t leave your drink unattended or accept drinks from people you don't know
- Avoid short cuts through unlit car parks, alleyways or isolated areas – if it looks unsafe trust your instincts and go a different way that is more public. If you have to pass a danger spot like an unlit park for example or a single isolated car parked with the engine running, try to minimise the danger – cross onto the other side and try to plan what you would do if you were threatened. Can you stay near a group walking the same way?
- Try to use routes you know well, are lit and busy. Walk on the footpath, not the road and face oncoming traffic so you can see it approaching. Be aware that if you wear headphones when out alone – you won’t hear a person or vehicle approaching
- If you need to use a cashpoint, ask someone to go with you. If you see anyone loitering nearby and there is an alternative don’t use it or wait until they have gone. Cover the keypad with a hand so that hidden cameras cannot record what you are typing. If the machine look as if it has been tampered with or is damaged in any way do not use it. Contact the company who provide the machine to report it, there will be a phone number on the machine.
- Be aware of strangers offering to help you. Don’t accept lifts and remember that attackers may try to make you feel safe with them so that you will accept a lift or allow them to accompany you
- Trust your instincts. If you feel worried about a person, route or situation try to find a safe way out – change the direction you are walking in, shout help, walk towards a group of people or takeaway, flag down a passing car, ring the police. If you are wrong it doesn’t matter, if you are right it could make all the difference
- Be aware of your surroundings when using a mobile phone or other device as you may be advertising what you have to the wrong people, this could make you a target for theft or robbery. Keep your valuables hidden and don’t put them down on tables or seats where they can be stolen or forgotten. If you have to use your phone at night to speak to a friend or relative, tell them where you are and what time you should be home
- If you are out jogging or walking the dog use popular routes. If you want to use more rural routes or quieter routes go with friends or at the same time as other joggers/walkers. Consider carrying a personal attack alarm and be prepared to use it if you are in danger – carry it where you can easily reach it
- If you are relying on public transport, especially at quieter times such as early morning get a timetable and carry it with you so that you don’t have to wait for ages after just missing a bus/train. Look around for a visible place to wait – a lit shop front could be safer than an unlit bus shelter. Some businesses have CCTV outside so this could be a safer place to wait until your transport is approaching
- If you work alone try to keep someone informed of your schedule and check in with them at key times such as following appointments. This could be your boss, colleagues, a friend or partner. If your place of work could benefit from a system like this bring it up with your supervisor who should be able to formalise it at work
- If you work from home and meet people there as part of your work there are a few things you can do to minimise the risk to yourself. Don’t advertise that you work from home or have unnecessary meetings at your home – is there an alternative venue that is more public like a café? Try to find out more information regarding the client – who do they work for? Can you verify their details with the company? Can you deal with it over the phone or email instead of a face to face meeting?
- If you run a business from home and have face to face meetings keep it to one room in the house and don’t allow access to other parts. Try to have another adult in the house if possible or tell someone what time the meeting starts and how long you expect it to last. Have a friend or relative ring you at set times of the day to check on your welfare.
If you have been attacked, don’t shower or change your clothes as it may destroy evidence. If you have to change clothes place them into clean plastic bags and don’t wash them. If the attack has just happened call 999. If you witness an attack, dial 999 immediately. Try to remember details such as clothing the attacker is wearing, what they looked like, which direction they went, vehicle registration numbers – write it down or if it is safe to do so take a picture. Alert others to help you, but do not put yourself in danger from the attacker.