Guide to Personal Safety for Young People
Disclaimer - we accept no liabilities from the use of this advice whatsoever. This is opinion only. Use as a guide:
This is for use teaching and training young people you work with in personal safety and avoidance of confrontation and incidents. This was given out in a compact booklet after one of the girls we worked with was approached by a man in a car asking for sex - and after a series of attacks were carried out in a local park on teenage girls.
This now includes safety tips around personal finances.
This is intended for use in any situation, not just church based.
1. Avoiding Incidents
- Get a reliable friend (or adult you trust) to walk with you if you feel worried at all. (Remember child protection if you are the adult. Best practice is to have 2 adults)
- Get picked up by a parent.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol as they mess with your head and make you much more vulnerable to attack.
- Don't put yourself in a risky situation. If you think something or someone may be dodgy get away from the situation.
- Tell people where you are going and when you'll be back.
- Have a mobile phone with you and consider having a personal attack alarm.
2. Stopping An Attack
- Shout and scream loudly stuff like 'I'm being attacked - someone help me - call the police - attack'
- Alternatively, yell something like 'Fire' or make a scene or fake an epileptic fit. This can bring help and / or freak out a potential attacker.
- If you can, get away from a situation. Running away even if you lose possessions is the wisest action. Better you get away than you get injured or worse.
- If you have to fight back, remember the vulnerable areas of the body - the eyes - around men's Adam's Apple on their neck, the groin, kick into an attackers knees or stamp down as hard as you can on the top of their foot. Biting can also work.
- Instead of punching in the traditional way, consider using your elbow, the palm of your hand (upwards into an attacker's nose etc.)
3. Feeling Comfortable
- If you are out on a date or in a group and feel uncomfortable end it and get out of there.
- Carry money to make sure you have readies to get a taxi. Make sure the taxi is from a taxi rank and you know they are are a genuine cab company and driver. Otherwise do not get in the taxi.
- If you are female, avoid parties where there are a disproportionate amount of lads over lasses.
- Never accept rides from people you don't know if you are alone. Be careful anyway.
THE GOD GUIDE
- Proverbs 3.5-6: 'Commit your way to God. Trust him to look after you and he will.'
4. Trust your instincts - dating, going out
- Trust yourself - if you feel uncomfortable, get out or away!
- Never go to a party alone (especially if female). Go with a mate unless you know it's safe.
- Never accept any drink (alcoholic or not) from people you don't know - preferably that you haven't seen someone make for you - even more preferably a drink that is opened by you or poured by a bar person.
- Don't share or exchange drinks
- If out in bars or clubs etc. hold on to your drink and keep your hand over the top of the glass so that no pills can be slipped into them without you knowing.
- If you feel you're becoming really intoxicated phone home, a leader, a friend, talk to a bouncer or phone 999.
- Be careful where you go if you are on a date. Arrange to meet, get picked up (and stay) at a public venue - if you have any doubts or do not know someone.
- Be very careful how much personal information you give out to people - so about where you live, where you work, your personal info.
5. Get Streetwise
- Don't walk towards large groups of people - walk around them. Best idea is to cross the road or even avoid the road.
- Walk towards oncoming traffic if possible so no-one can drive up behind you without you seeing them.
- Use well lit areas, avoid shortcuts, dark roads and alleys.
- Look confident, walk talk, look determined as if you know where you're going (even if you don't). But don't go around strutting or looking arrogant.
- Avoid eye contact with people who look hostile or you have doubts about.
- Look behind you regularly and around you to see if someone's following. If someone is, cross the road, walk into a public place, phone the police or seek some kind of safe support.
- If someone accosts you in a car, ignore them, walk on or firmly tell them to go away.
- Never get in a car or even go near a car. If someone beckons you over asking for directions, stay back far enough from the car doors so you are out of reach of any grabbing.
- Remember that things you have with you can be used as a weapon - keys for example.
- Look for weapons around you as you walk in case you need to run back and grab it.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Is there a dark alley coming up, walk on the other side of the pavement from it so you can't be grabbed. Look into roads as you pass. Think of potential problems and take action before any incident may happen.
- Look behind you when going to a cashpoint. If you can, get cash from inside a bank or in a shop via cash back etc.
- One tip when at a cashpoint is to look around before you use it, look around as you use it and look into any mirror or any reflective / metallic part of the machine to look behind you for any potential attacker.
- Look for suspicious devices in a cash machine, like anything that could be a miniature camera (reading you put your PIN number in). If the machine doesn't seem to work or doesn't return your card, stay with the machine and phone the police.
- When entering your PIN number into a cash machine or when paying for goods via 'chip and pin' in stores, do so very carefully so that nobody nearby can read your number.
- If you get a receipt from a cash machine or goods, make sure you wait for and retain this. Most places now have receipts that don't give away your card number (eg xxxx xxxx xxxx 1234) but just in case, don't throw away your receipt without destroying or burning it. It may contain valuable info. Most stolen info comes from people's garbage. Beware. Dispose of all personal info very carefully. I burn mine.
- When paying with a card in a restaurant or shop, go to the payment place and watch the assistant put the card through the machine. Watch out for people using visa card readers etc. Check the receipt before signing for the correct amount.
- Remember that your phone is vulnerable so keep it updated, run anti-virus if using Android and keep things like Bluetooth off / don’t download unknown things and be cautious over non-secured WiFi networks.