The purpose of the safe word is to enable a family or friend to recognise when you are in a situation where you are feeling frightened or threatened. It can be used as a trigger to alert someone that you need help.
If you are in a situation that is frightening you but you don’t want to alert the person you are with that you are seeking help, you can ask your friend or family member who is on the phone a question that they know is your safe word.
You ask – How’s Auntie Myra? The person on the other end of the phone knows that there is no auntie called Myra and that this is your code for telling them you need help.
Before you go out, think about how you are going to get home e.g. Can you travel home with a friend? What time does the last bus/train leave?
Avoid danger spots such as quiet or badly lit alleyways, subways or isolated car parks.
Walk down the middle of the pavement if the street is deserted.
If you do have to pass danger spots think about what you would do if you felt threatened.
Try to use well-lit, busy streets and use the route you know best. If you are at all worried try and stay near a group of people.
Consider heading for a public place. Go somewhere you know there will be other people, e.g. a garage or shop.
Whenever possible walk facing oncoming traffic to avoid kerb crawlers. If you do have to walk in the same direction as the traffic and a vehicle pulls up suddenly alongside you, turn and walk or run in the other direction.
Avoid passing stationary cars with their engines running and people sitting in them.
Never accept a lift from a stranger or someone you don’t know very well, even if you are wet, tired or running late.
Keep your mind on your surroundings
Remember if you are chatting on your mobile phone or wearing headphones, you will not hear trouble approaching. Try to keep both hands free and don’t walk with your hands in your pockets.
Be extra careful when using cash point machines. Make sure nobody is hovering nearby and don’t count your money in the middle of the street.
Try not to keep all your valuables in one place. It’s a good idea to keep valuables such as wallets in an inside pocket.
If you think you are being followed, trust your instincts and take action. As confidently as you can, cross the road, turning to see who is behind you. If you are still being followed, keep moving. Make for a busy area and tell people what is happening. If necessary, call the police.
Beware of someone who warns you of the danger of walking alone and then offers to accompany you. This is a ploy some attackers have been known to use.
Consider carrying a personal safety alarm, which can be used to shock and disorientate an attacker giving you vital seconds to get away.
If you have any concerns whatsoever about your safety, don’t hesitate call the police.