How to stay safe
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Whether you are being abused, or you fear for the safety of a friend or relative, it is very important to plan for your safety. This is a process of looking at your situation and assessing what you might need to help you feel safe and better. It can be as simple as talking to someone you trust, having a list of important phone numbers kept in a safe place, or learning more about what can happen to people who are being abused. All these things are proactive steps to take care of yourself.
Your own personal safety plan
There are many different ways to make a safety plan. A safety plan can help to explore and map out options and ideas to increase safety when domestic and family violence is happening. It can also help those experiencing sexual assault when the perpetrator is someone known.
You might be making a safety plan for yourself or with a family member or friend who is experiencing violence.
Family and friends can play an important role in helping with support and information. Domestic and family violence services and sexual assault services are also there to help organise and support. These services can help with thinking about options.
You can download and complete your own safety plan, and keep it somewhere no one else can find it.
Tips on safety planning
- Make sure you save important numbers and contact details in your phone in case you need to call or text someone in an emergency.
- Try and ensure to always have credit on your mobile phone in case you need it in an emergency.
- Work out a code word you can use with a trusted friend, relative or teacher to let them know you need help.
Things to avoid
- Try not to stop your parents fighting. Go to a neighbour’s house or call or text a trusted person, or the police.
- Don’t put yourself in danger.
- Try not to keep the violence and abuse a secret, as it usually only gets worse. If someone else becomes involved, such as a friend, relative or the police, there is a chance of things changing and becoming better.
Everyone has the right to live free from fear.
How to stay safe online
Abuse and violence don’t always come in the form of physical acts and emotional torment. The way we communicate with one another is changing everyday, and while technology advancements are great to keep up with, there are ways to keep safe if someone is using these mediums to make you feel scared, unsafe or threatened.
Abusive online behaviour includes:
- checking your email or tracking your internet use
- harassing you or stalking you on social media
- sending constant and abusive emails, texts or messages in a way that makes you feel scared or threatened
- posting embarrassing, fake or intimate photographs of you on social media (without your consent), or threatening to do so if you do not do what they want
- spreading rumours about you on social media, or writing abusive comments on your, their, or other social media accounts
Online safety tips
- Turn GPS and location settings off your phone.
- Keep a passcode on your phone that only you know.
- Should you use a second, prepaid mobile that only you know about?
- Clear your search history after you have finished browsing, then before logging off, make some random website searches (movies, shopping, news) so that a safe recent browser history is left.
- Log off your computer
- Change passwords regularly and use different passwords for different accounts. Be sure that your browser doesn’t remember your passwords.
- Create a private email that only you can access.
- Consider your privacy settings on social media accounts.
- Consider your location settings and cues on social media i.e. do you ‘check in’ to places, or do you friends ‘check you in’. Do the photos your tagged in indicate your whereabouts? Ask your friends not to do this, if it is unsafe for your location to be known.
- Use another phone or computer if necessary, to browse the internet. For example, a friend’s phone or the school, university or local library computer.