In light of the news of the horrific murder of Sarah Everard in London, SEPAR's female safety team would like to share our Top Ten Female Safety Tips, RIP Sarah xxx
Situational awareness - Be aware of your surroundings, & understand where are the high risk areas, who is in your immediate area, potential problems & situations that may arise. If you are wearing headphones only wear one so that so that you can hear what is going on around you but if in a high risk area do not wear at all. Put your mobile phone in a bag or zipped pocket so that it cannot be easily stolen or distract you from your surroundings.
Try and vary your routes - If you travel to work the same way everyday and have a predictable time and route pattern this can be noticed and used in planning against you. Vary routes, timings and clothes worn where possible to avoid this. If you use a car consider other modes of transport e.g car share, taxi, etc. Recognise the vulnerabilities - "stop areas e.g. where you work and where you live."
Travel with others - Wherever possible do not travel alone especially late at night, stick with a group and make arrangements so that you are able to travel together.
Detailed plan - If you are travelling alone leave a detailed list of your plans with a trusted family member, friend or colleague who can check on your progress.
Taxi's - If you get into a taxi alone make sure you check that they are a licensed vehicle and the driver has an identification card. Take a picture of the car and registration number, if challenged politely explain that your employer asks you to do this . Sit behind the driver's seat so that you can see the driver but they can't see you well and are able to see where the car is going, if you do not think the route is correct then question it. Make a phone call whilst in the back to a friend / family member telling them what you are doing and where you are, if the driver thinks that someone else knows the details then you are less likely to be a target. Be careful not to fall asleep, especially after alcohol, so that you are aware of your surroundings at all times. Ensure the doors are locked and the windows are up.
Mobile Apps - There are several free apps that you can download onto your mobile phone such as One Scream, BSafe, Life360 & Hollie Guard that can alert family or friends to your whereabouts and if you are in trouble. (Remember some of these are not encrypted).
Self Defence - Attend some self defence / martial arts classes, learning just the basic techniques can give you a fighting chance as a last resort in an attack. This will also improve your confidence, self esteem and will make you less of an easy target.
Alarm - Carry a rape alarm, these handheld alarms are very loud and can alert people in the area that there is a situation happening and get attention, it also causes your attacker to realise that they may be noticed. These are particularly effective when held close to the attacker's ear.
Hotels - When staying in a hotel always carry a doorstop with you, these small, cheap and freely available piece of equipment will stop anyone from entering your room even if they have a key. Kick it under the door at night and this will give you an extra layer of protection whilst you sleep. You can also buy doorstops that have lights or are alarmed. If you enter a lift and feel uncomfortable wait until everyone has exited the lift before you press your floor button so that no one is aware of which floor you are staying on. Be aware of divulging too much information to the reception or hotel staff as some may be involved in petty crime. Place your Do Not Disturb sign on your door when you are not there as it stops hotel staff from entering and makes people unaware if you are in there or not. Use the spy hole in the door before answering to confirm the person knocking.
Deterrent - Wear a false wedding band, this can be a visual deterrent for any potential sexual advances (there are some exceptions where a married person is seen sexually experienced so do you location research before you travel).