Last month the safety and wellbeing of women was brought to the forefront of our minds again as we heard the high profile news of the disappearance and murder of Sarah Everard. Ultimately the world should be a safe place for women, cases like Sarah’s are rare, however catcalling and harassment are common. Unfortunately in times like these we need to remind ourselves of what we can do to keep safe as we are out and about, and what men and boys can do to promote women's safety. Read on for some tips...
• Try to plan ahead. Make sure someone knows where you are going, who you are meeting and when you expect to return.
• Always plan how you are going to get home again.
• Don’t leave your drink unattended, and if you start to feel unwell seek assistance from venue staff.
• When out with friends, look out for each other and consider travelling back together, or “checking in” when you each arrive home safely.
• Stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
• Minimise chatting on your mobile phone or listening to music loudly on your headphones, as this can distract you from your surroundings or any potential danger signs.
• Think about getting a personal safety alarm. Keep it in an easily accessible place and carry it in your hand if you feel at risk. It can be used to momentarily distract an attacker giving you vital seconds to escape.
• If you are out at night, try to stick to busy streets and near other people. Avoid poorly-lit areas, deserted parks, or quiet alleyways .
• Be aware of areas that would be better avoided. Some short-cuts may be great during the day but have a reputation for being unsafe at night.
• If you see someone else in trouble, think twice before trying to help. This may just aggravate the problem and you could end up hurt as well. It may be a lot more helpful to shout for help, call the police or generally make a lot of noise to attract attention.
• Share information about your journey and the vehicle you’re using with someone you trust
• Ask the driver to show you their badge before you start your journey
• Find out which licensed taxis and private hire vehicles operate in your area and plan your journey in advance
• Examine the taxi or minicab before you get in – is a licence displayed on the vehicle? Does the vehicle look roadworthy?
• Trust your instincts – if you feel worried or threatened, ask the driver to stop in a busy area so you can get out
• You can report any concerns about taxis or private hire vehicles to the police and your local licensing authority
• Where possible wait in a well-lit, busy area
• Don’t be afraid of moving should someone’s behaviour cause you concern
• Trust your instinct
• Call British transport police on 61016 to seek assistance or report incidents on the rail network
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This particular case is part of a larger issue of violence against women and girls, check out the EVAW who are a leading coalition of specialist women’s support services, researchers, activists, survivors and NGOs working to end violence against women and girls in all its forms. You can view their website here.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust has some more advice regarding personal safety, click here for their website.
And lastly check out Respect not Fear who work to prevent domestic abuse and sexual violence by raising awareness, and educating people about, equal and healthy relationships. Check out their website here.