Tips on how to stay safe and avoid being attacked
Violence and harassment against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is real. Although not every attack can be prevented, learning to recognise potential problems and warning signs can reduce your risk. Your primary consideration should be your personal safety and survival.
Here are a few safety tips that may help:
- Stay alert
Awareness is your best self-defence; know what is happening around you. Be especially careful if you are alone or drunk. Watch where you are going and what is going on around you. Look for potential problems, and be prepared to react to them.
- Trust your instincts
Don't assume a false sense of security because you are either surrounded by people or in a remote area. If you think something is wrong, remove yourself from the situation. Trust your gut instinct - if it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
- When walking, plan the safest and most direct route
Evaluate and be aware of your surroundings. Use well-lit, busy streets and keep a safe distance between yourself and other people. Try not to leave any venues alone and if possible walk with friends or a group. Let someone know where you will be going and when you will return. Avoid shortcuts, dark lanes, deserted streets and wooded areas. If you feel uneasy, trust your instincts and go directly to a place where there are other people.
- Project confidence
Walk as if you know where you're going. Stand tall. Walk in a confident manner, and hold your head up. Keep your hands free.
- If you decide to take someone home...
If you leave with someone you've just met - introduce them to someone you know or staff. Make sure the person you're leaving with knows others are aware you are leaving together.
- Attackers expect a passive victim
Carry a personal attack alarm. Keep it accessible and use it if you encounter trouble. Try to attract attention - make a noise, shout “FIRE!”, honk your car horn to try to alert passers-by to what is happening.
- Have everything you need ready
Hold your keys when going to and from your car, home and office. This will save time and give you some security in having protection. Don't carry more money than you will need, but always have emergency change for a phone call.
If you hear a personal attack alarm or calls for help, determine where the sound is coming from. Dial 999 and, if you're in sight of the attack, use your own personal attack alarm and yell. The purpose is not to physically intervene but to scare off attackers.
Think about everything you are witnessing for the police report. Make notes if you can.
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