No one wants to scare students with safety issues (and after all the UK is largely a very safe place to live) but at the same time, it’s important to address the issues of personal safety and greater awareness of the potential dangers.
Here are our top 10 tips.
Contact - ensure your students have stored your numbers, and the UK’s emergency numbers on their mobile phones. Sounds obvious but not all countries use 999. Elsieapp also provide a student card service - you can read more about this here - http://bit.ly/2dbYw4b
Be aware - Walking the streets at any time is more hazardous when wearing headphones - whether playing games or listening to music. Encourage your students to take them out and be aware of the people and traffic around them.
Be informed - We’re all aware of small pockets in our neighbourhoods which are perceived to be less safe than others. Tell your students about these places and safe routes to take to avoid them.
Alcohol - Many young people gravitate towards alcohol in their teens (the legal drinking age, of 18 in the UK, may vary from their home country). Make them aware that they must know their limits and that everyone is more vulnerable when under the influence.
Personal alarms - In the event of an attack or incident personal alarms can be a great way to attract help. They’re available for just a few pounds and even as mobile phone apps. You can find personal alarms here - http://amzn.to/2dCNowO or as apps on iTunes - http://apple.co/2e9y6Am or Google Play - http://bit.ly/1OaUx3c
Public transport - If students find themselves alone at night advise them to try to sit by the driver on a quiet bus and only ever take registered taxis.
Keep possessions hidden - walking around alone with a new mobile phone in hand, or sitting in the open with an expensive laptop, can attract unwanted attention. If alone keep your valuables covered up and inconspicuous.
Plan ahead - Ensure your students always tell someone where they’re going and what time they’re expected.
Caring for friends - If out in a group of an evening remind your students to look out for the other members of the group - and they will look out for them.
In the event that a bag or purse is lost encourage your students to keep an emergency phone card or £1 in their pocket so they can call for help.