Personal safety tips

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In light of the recent attack against Prabha Arun Kumar in Sydney, we bring you tips on how to stay safe if you’re travelling home at night


Be aware of yourself and your surroundings. Try not to walk by yourself and listen to music through headphones or talk on your mobile phone. Many people think being on the phone is safe because someone else can call for help, but chatting can distract you from warning signs.

If walking by yourself, hold your mobile phone near you and be ready to make an emergency call if necessary. Many phones can make a call to 000 (the Australian emergency phone number) even if the phone is locked or without reception or credit.

If possible, try not to walk alone and follow a well-lit path. Have a friend or group meet you and journey together or use a torch to guide you.

If this isn’t practical in your situation, try to get to know the people in your local neighbourhood. Stop in regularly at shops and restaurants on your path so other residents and shopkeepers recognise you. You may even be able to find a travel buddy.


Try not to appear vulnerable or nervous. Keep your head up, swing your arms, stand tall. Walk with purpose and authority. The less you look like a victim, the less likely you are to be targeted.

Use your gut instinct. Whatever you call it, your intuition is a powerful insight into situations and people. If you are feeling unsafe or as though something is wrong – you’re probably right.

If confronted, make a scene. Attempt to run away, yell out, throw a rock through a shop or car window – do whatever you can to attract attention. Try to yell “Stop!” or “Fire!” as these are most likely to draw attention and elicit a response.


Consider self-defence classes. If you often have to walk alone or at night, it may be worthwhile to invest in a self-defence program in order to learn skills to protect yourself in the event of an attack.

If you find yourself in a position where you have to defend yourself, aim where it’s going to hurt the most: eyes, nose, throat, groin, shins. It might just give you enough time to run away.

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Kira has a passion for politics, and enjoys puzzles, bad jokes and cuddles with her cat.
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