Don’t let the fear of crime stop you from ever going anywhere, but make sure you are not making yourself a target. The information on this page is based on advice from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust
A Safe Night Out
Know your limits and stick to them
Alcohol can make you do things you wouldn’t normally do. It slows down your reactions and makes you an easier target. Don’t get caught so easily. If you feel you’ve had enough alcohol, say no to “Just one more.”
Keep an eye on your drink
Spiking drinks with drugs is a growing problem. If someone buys you a drink, go to the bar with them and make sure you know what you’re getting. If you think your drink may have been spiked, don’t drink it! Keep your drink with you - bottles are easier to dance with than glasses (and harder to slip something into).
Look out for your mates
Keep an eye on them if they’ve been drinking and ask them if they’ll do the same for you. If you go out with your mates, go home with them too. If you’ve met the man/woman of your dreams, take their number and call the next day.
If you do split up make sure you know where and when you are all meeting. If one of you does go back to someone’s house, make sure the rest of you have the address, just in case. Don’t ever take a lift home from a stranger.
Call a taxi before you leave the club.
Always use a registered taxi or minicab. Only use black cabs if you are picking up a cab in the street. Any other car cruising the streets looking for customers could be illegal and dangerous and many people who have used these cabs have been the victim of crime. Carry the number of a trusted, registered company with you and try and book in advance.
When the taxi arrives, ask the driver who they’re there for and if they don’t say your name, don’t get in. Once you’re in, check their license number - it should be on the dashboard. If you chat to the driver, don’t tell him any personal details. It ís safer to get a cab with your mates wherever possible.
Be Drug Wise
Anyone in a club who looks out of control is a target, whether for rapists, pickpockets or just general sleazebags. Do not let anyone talk you into taking something if you don’t want to. Also, remember that a drug can have a different effect when taken with other drugs or alcohol, or if you take more than usual. More info on drugs and alcohol.
Remember your rights
You have the right to say no to sex at any time. The law states that a person must actively seek consent, which means you must agree in words before it happens. You do not have to do anything you do not want to do. If NO is not working, then try screaming: no one can mistake that for consent. Going out with someone does not mean they have any rights to your body.
If someone is bugging you, be rude if necessary to get the message across and it is better to sort it out straight away than to have to fight them off later.
Be safe on the streets
At any time, but especially after dark, make sure you know the way and look as though you know the way. If you walk quickly with your head up, you will not look like an easy target.
Carry your keys or a rape alarm in your hand, or keep your hand on an aerosol in your bag. You probably won’t need to use any of these, but it will give you more confidence. If you do need to use them, they will give you valuable escape time.
Use your voice. Screaming not only lets people know what is happening, but will often cause an attacker to run away. Avoid dark streets and parks at night and stick to main roads so that you have got more chance of getting help if you need it.
If you are being followed:
Go to the nearest shop/pub/petrol station and call someone to come and pick you up. If this is not an option, walk confidently and prepare an escape strategy just in case.
If someone you hardly know wants to get you on your own, ask yourself why. If you can’t come up with a damn good reason, trust your inner feelings and try not to put yourself in a dangerous position.
Buses and trains
When travelling at night on a bus, sit downstairs where you can get the driver’s help if you need it. Sit in a train carriage with as many other people as possible and if you are in danger, pull the emergency cord.
Safety at home
Don’t let anyone into your home who you don’t know or don’t trust. They may have a good excuse for being there but trust your instincts. If the front door has a chain or spy hole, use it.
A genuine caller should have some sort of ID (identity card) on them, i.e. someone from the gas or electricity company. If you weren’t expecting them, ask to see their ID and call the company they work for to check they have a reason for being there.
Find out more from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust