1. The right to safety
It is important to be aware of and exercise your right to safety. Unfortunately, it is not a perfect world and your personal safety may be threatened. It’s a good idea to follow safety strategies so you are able to deal with this possibility.
It is also important that you acknowledge and respect that all people have the right to safety.
2. Keep fear of violence in perspective
Many people have a fear of violent crime that is wildly disproportionate to its reality. This fear often results in unnecessary limitations being placed on their lifestyle. Education is the key to putting this fear into perspective. If you know the trends associated with personal violence offences, such as how often, when, where they occur and by whom, you can work out how likely it is that you could become a victim, and in what circumstances. If you follow practical safety strategies you can significantly minimise these risks.
In this way, preventative strategies are based on the actual risk, rather than restricting your lifestyle based on an exaggerated fear.
Being committed to your personal safety is fundamental to maintaining it. Many people have a strong commitment to keeping their loved ones safe, and are willing to do anything to protect them, but don’t have the same level of commitment to their own safety. Value yourself and keep yourself safe, by making safety strategies a part of your lifestyle.
Confidence is a valuable tool in all you do. In the context of personal safety, having and displaying confidence plays a vital role.
A confident person is more likely to identify and implement preventative safety strategies; have faith in their own abilities; and take action if their personal safety is threatened. A person without confidence tends to be too scared to go out, diminishing their quality of life.
Having confidence is a source of power. And remember – if you don’t feel confident in any situation, fake it! Visual imagery is a technique you can use to help you act sensibly under pressure: imagine yourself in a situation where you’re using safety strategies successfully.
5. Body language
Body language is a powerful tool that you can use to your advantage. By appearing confident and comfortable in your surroundings, you decrease your attractiveness to potential offenders.
Strong, confident body language includes standing tall with your head up, shoulders back and walking with a purpose. Making brief eye contact with passers-by is also an effective method of demonstrating that you are not intimidated.
6. Awareness of surroundings
Being aware of what is happening around you will alert you to possible threats to your safety, before they reach you. This gives you the opportunity to remove yourself from the situation.
The key is to look relaxed and comfortable, rather than paranoid, thereby appearing ‘streetwise’. This decreases the likelihood of being targeted as a potential victim.
7. Trusting and acting on instincts
Your body senses danger long before your mind consciously works out why. It is vital you listen to, trust and act on these instincts.
If you do sense danger or pick up ‘bad vibes’ from someone, something or a certain place, leave immediately and go to a place where you feel safe.
Assertive communication allows people to express their points of view objectively to reach an agreeable solution. It does not involve backing down (being passive) or standing over someone (being aggressive).
Assertive behaviour does not come naturally to most people. However, by practising assertiveness in handling minor matters, such as advising a shop assistant if you have been short-changed or sending back unsatisfactory food at a restaurant, you can enhance your ability to be assertive in other aspects of life.
In most day-to-day situations, you should be able to communicate assertively and confidently. But there may be occasions where acting either aggressively or passively will be the best way to keep safe.
Many people find it difficult to trust others with their feelings, experiences or concerns. Often those most in need of a trusted person to talk with, such as victims of domestic violence or people contemplating suicide, are the most isolated.
It is important to develop a network of people you trust and can contact for advice or assistance in an emergency, or if you feel your personal safety is threatened. They can include relatives, friends, community groups, neighbours and police. A support network also increases your confidence and self-esteem and can have a positive impact on all aspects of your life.
Having your own network of trusted people to talk with also helps you in being a good friend or network member for others.
10. Personal Safety Plan
Everyone should have their own personal safety plan. It consists of safety strategies you choose to suit your own lifestyle and abilities. The more you follow them and know that they work, the more they will become habits. It should not involve following a list of rules provided by another person.