Staying safe when you’re out this Christmas

Written by Rachel Measures, Masters in PR. Illustration by By Laura Dowson, BA (Hons) Illustration, 2nd year.

It’s officially that very merry time of the year, and like many people out there, I love to celebrate the holidays by having a festive night out. But although we live in a really friendly place, it’s important to keep yourself and your friends safe this Christmas. Here are my top tips.

  1. Stick together

A night out is more fun together anyway, but me and my friends make sure we keep an eye out for each other. I recommend that you stick to groups of no less than three.

  1. Communicate and make a plan

Know where you are going and for how long. We communicate constantly, so if someone’s going to the toilet, the bar, the smoking area – whatever, we let people know. Be held accountable so that if something happens your friends will be looking out for you.

  1. Watch your drinks

When I go out, I don’t put my drink down unless I know I’m finished with it. Drinking can leave you vulnerable and unfortunately people can take advantage of that and slip something into your glass. So if you haven’t watched your drink, or you’ve left it and come back to it, just don’t drink it.

  1. Trust your instincts, and the instincts of those around you

If something doesn’t feel right, I remove myself from an uncomfortable situation, and I don’t feel bad for being rude – my safety and comfort comes first. This is also where communication ahead of time can be useful. Perhaps your group could use a code word so that you can judge when someone is feeling uncomfortable with a situation.

  1. Carry a personal alarm

I have a small alarm which gives me more confidence and helps me feel safer. I’d recommend buying one ­­– you can find loads online – so if something goes wrong or you feel in danger, you can trigger it and diffuse the situation.

  1. Remember to keep your mobile phone charged and with you

If you feel in danger you can call the police on 999 (emergency) or 101 (non-emergency). If you need to speak to someone following a night out remember there is the Advice Centre in the Hubs, or at the Wellbeing Centre on Level 2 in the Owen Building.

Follow Laura’s illustrations on Instagram @ldillustrates