It's not all just obvious stuff like use a seat belt in the car, wear your safety helmet riding your bike, look before you cross the road. It's very easy to be wise after something goes wrong, and not all dangers are easy to spot. But we think you can have more fun if you can avoid bad stuff happening, and you know how annoying it is when adults says "I told you so"......

There's nothing naff about staying safe. It doesn't mean staying in and doing nothing either.

So here are a few ideas on minimising the danger from things you might not consider risky, because mostly they are not. 

How to stop a fun night out turning into a nightmare (and get home in one piece):

Lifecentre give you really great tips to help you stay safe:

"There are some simple things we can do to make sure that our big night out stays a great night out.

  • Know your boundaries: Before you go out, take a moment to be sure of what you want to happen and more importantly what you don't want to happen.
  • Look out for your mates: Talk with them about what you want to happen and then look out for each other- if you see your mate disappearing into the dark with someone - go and be a big fat gooseberry. Do what you can to protect them from a big regret in the morning.
  • Know how you're getting home. Don't spend your last fiver on a drink if it is how you are going to pay the taxi home. Have a plan with your mates to make sure no one is going to be on their own late at night. Protect each other.
  • Know how to say 'NO'. It sounds silly but if you've thought of some great excuses beforehand you'll find it easier to remember them when the time comes and someone is throwing all their best chat up lines at you. If necessary, be rude!

Here are some top get outs:

  • Sorry, have to go, my mate's calling me.
  • Sorry, I have to go to the loo, I'm desperate for a wee!
  • I think I just saw my dad, I'd better go!
  • Ooh, my boyfriend's looking for me - see you around."

It's not that common but unfortunately you need to be aware of the possibility of getting your drink spiked or being date raped or otherwise taken advantage of. The Roofie Foundation have a sobering but practical view of what might happenhow to avoid it happening, and what to do is if does. 

  • The Havens in London deal with people of all ages who have been raped or sexually assaulted and their advice for a safe night out is : 
  • Plan your journey or night out
    Make sure that someone knows where you are going and what time you will be home
  • Arrange your journey to and from home
  • When going to a pub, club or party avoid going alone. Friends can watch out for each other
  • Appoint a nominated drinks-watcher
  • Remember, alcohol does affect your actions and your reactions as well as your ability to be alert
  • Stay aware of what is going on around you
  • Stay away from situations that you do not feel comfortable with
  • Never accept a drink from anyone you do not completely trust
  • Do not share or exchange drinks
  • Don't leave your drink unattended, even when going to the toilet
  • If you begin to feel really drunk after only a drink or two seek help from a trusted friend or a member of the club or pub management. It is important to get to a place of safety as soon as possible
  • You must be sure you have absolute trust in the person you seek help from no matter how long you have known them
  • Consider very carefully whether you should leave the pub, club or party with someone you have just met

Getting a taxi home after? Make sure it really is a taxi and not a potential robber, rapist or kidnapper. The Havens recommend :

  • Always try to pre book a car through a licensed minicab office
  • Make sure the car you get into is actually the car you ordered
  • Know the car details and check the driver knows the name it was booked under
  • Sit in the rear of the vehicle and carry a mobile phone or personal alarm   

Couldn't happen to you?

Nobody expected Suzy Lamplugh, a young estate agent, to go to show a property to an unknown prospective client and never be seen again. Her parents set up the the Suzy Lamplugh Trust to make people more aware of personal safety issues. They know first hand how it feels after an awful event they could do nothing to prevent, so take some notice of what they have to say about being sensible and staying safe. It really is better to be safe than sorry - or even dead. The Suzy Lamplugh Trust website has sensible stuff about personal safety and working alone including personal safety apps to download.

Stalking

It doesn't just happen to other people or even just adults and it's not only something you read about in the newspapers. If you are worried about someone whose behaviour is obsessive towards you or who you think might be stalking you, check it out on the NSS Network for Surviving Stalking site. They help you trust your instincts and recognise potentially dangerous behaviour, and tell you what to do including going to the police. They have stories and videos from people who have been stalked. You can get more help and advice from the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300.

Internet and mobile safety

Hopefully you already read the GTRT page about online and mobile safety, so you know how to stop people interfering in your life and your business and in extreme cases stealing your information or giving you serious grief in terms of bullying or abuse through the internet or your mobile phone. General online safety advice doesn't always take account of someone specific stalking or harassing you in a way which goes beyod being a pest or a bully. Cyber-stalking is explained on the NSS site with guidelines for dealing with it, and you can get more specific help and advice from Digital Stalking.

What if it's safer out than in?

Home is meant to be a safe place you can go for comfort and protection. But if you are unlucky it can be exactly the opposite, a place where you are abused or unsafe. If you are in danger of being abused, physically hurt, or neglected in your home by the people who are supposed to be caring for you, you can get help. If you are afraid of violence or in an emergency, call 999.

Being abused or the victim of violence or bullying

Maybe you already read our ideas on how to recognise the various types of abuse and where to get help if you are unsafe and in danger because it is happening to you, including  domestic abuse and violence in the home, rape and sexual assualt, and how to escape from these and the consequences of them. 

It's just the same if your family have very strict and inflexible ideas about how you should dress or behave, if you are being forced to do things or being prevented from doing things by fear of violence, if your family are trying to force you into marriage, going abroad, or are pressuring you to get involved in drugs, crime or prostitution, or if you have been brought to this country with the idea of making you do something you don't want to - in other words "trafficking" you. Cultural differences tells you who to turn to and where to get help.

Violence can come in these or other ways, on the streets, from gangs or just bullies. For emergencies see where to get help now, we also have information on dealing with gangs and bullying.

Bricks and mortar can damage your health!

If your home is overcrowded or so poorly maintained it is dangerous to your safety or your health and no-one else in the house seems to care, get in touch with social services or get someone you trust to contact them for you. Get help to explore the alternatives for where else you might live if you leave home or if there is help to get your home sorted out.

If you are under 18 and living with people who are unstable and unpredictable through drink, drugs, mental health problems, being involved in gangs, criminal activity, prostitution or anything else which makes you feel extra vulnerable and at risk, talk to someone. You might be surprised what help you can get for yourself (and maybe for whoever is causing the problem). Social services have a duty to keep you safe.

In some cases you may be able to get help to live independently or in supported accommodation if you are old enough, or you might even prefer to be in care if it gives you a safe and comfortable home environment.  Connexions, Citizens Advice and the Housing Services can offer practical help and advice in finding alternatives and knowing your rights.

Mean streets?

If it's the area you live in which is the problem, talk to your local police and neighbourhood wardens who may be able to help sort out trouble on the streets. Citizens Advice and Connexions are good people to ask for help in knowing how to deal with problem neighbours too and what your housing options are, talk to the council or housing association if they own properties where people are causing problems, or get someone else to do it for you.

Mental health warning

If you already have mental health problems, a crisis condition could leave you feeling very scared and maybe in danger of hurting yourself or someone else. Get help as an emergency or as soon as possible. If you have a crisis card or plan don't forget to use it.

Whatever is making you feel unsafe or in danger, find out your options before you feel forced to leave in a hurry or run away with no real plans for alternatives.

And if you already did, get more information from our page.

"Left home or run away".

The page was last updated on 10 June 2014 by andrea.bateman.

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