Your personal safety is of utmost importance and hopefully you will never be a victim of crime. However, it is always worth thinking about how you would act in different situation and what you can do to protect yourself.
Some of us fear being attacked so it is worth considering what you might do if it did happen. If someone threatens you, shout for help and set off your personal attack alarm – if you have one. This might be enough to frighten the attacker off.
However, you can use self-defence if you feel it is necessary. The law says you can use reasonable force to protect yourself, protect another person, protect your property, prevent crime or assist in the lawful arrest of a criminal. What is ‘reasonable’ in any situation will depend on the circumstances and the scale of the threat you are facing. Broadly, for force to be reasonable it must be necessary and proportionate.
Each situation is different and you will have to make that choice yourself. You should take the time to think about what you would do. Remember, you can defend yourself but it is illegal to carry an offensive weapon
You can do many things to increase your safety when you are out.
- Stay in busy, well-lit areas
- Travel in a group, if possible
- Respect other people’s personal space
- Don’t take short cuts through dark alleys, parks etc. Walk facing the traffic, so a car cannot pull up behind you unnoticed.
- Don’t hitch-hike or take lifts from strangers.
- Walk away from confrontational situations as soon as possible
- Go to the police or a doctor if you have been attacked
If you do decide to defend yourself, be aware that your attacker may be stronger than you. It is often better to shout and run away. Call the police immediately on 999 if you feel you are in any danger - we are here to help.
- You can use reasonable force in self-defence. You will have to able to justify any action you take as reasonable, proportionate and necessary in the circumstances.
- Self-defence classes may help you feel more secure.
- Cover up expensive-looking jewellery, watches etc.
- Carry your bag close to you with the clasp facing inwards.
- Carry your house keys in your pocket. If someone grabs your bag, let it go, do not get hurt. Your safety is more important than your property.
- When walking alone carry a personal attack alarm. Carry it in your hand so you can use it immediately to scare off an attacker.
- Arrange transport home in advance. Do not go out alone. Don’t get isolated from your friends.
- Stay in well-lit areas and don’t wander in areas you are unsure of.
- Never leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from someone who you don’t know or trust.
- If you feel drunk, dizzy or disorientated seek help from a trusted friend or a member of bar staff.
- Consider carefully whether to leave with someone you have just met.