Unfortunately, many violent situations are a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time – but there are ways that you can avoid ending up in a dangerous situation.
The Injury Control Council of WA (ICCWA) recently conducted a research project called Our Space, Safe Place, which engaged young people aged 12-25 regarding their perceptions of safety in public spaces.
A total of 541 young people completed a formal survey to determine how safe they feel in different public spaces, locations and scenarios, which spaces were important to them, how often they used these community spaces, and which groups of people they thought did not feel welcome in the community. Young people were also asked about strategies to make oneself feel safer.
To following tips are from those aged 12 – 15 years old that participated in the project. Take heed of their advice and you may avoid becoming a youth violence statistic.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Know the way out should the need arise. Understand where you are and who is around you.
- Avoid isolated areas. If no one is around, no one can come to your aid if needed.
- Look the part. Even if you don’t know where you are going, walk with purpose and your head held high to give the illusion that you do.
- Trust your instincts. Your intuition and senses are your best line of defence in avoiding a dangerous situation. If something doesn’t feel right, get out of that situation before it escalates.
- Make sure you have your mobile phone with you, that it is charged and topped up with enough credit. Know how to call for help. Make sure emergency contact and useful numbers such as your parents and maybe a taxi company are programmed into your phone. This may be your best chance to get out of a deteriorating situation or a way to get assistance.
- Watch the company you keep. Try not to be alone with people that you either don’t trust or you don’t know. Stick together with your friends.
- Don’t put both earplugs of your music device in your ears, particularly if you are walking or exercising alone. Leaving one ear free will allow you to stay more aware of your surrounds.
The most important thing you can do to avoid dangerous situations is to realise that they exist. Don’t believe that bad things only happen to other people. When you’re out and about, whether it’s during the day or at night, remember the above tips and stay safe.