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Personal Safety

We all have the right to feel and be safe as we go about our daily lives. 
We all react differently to situations and safety can mean different things to different people. We don’t want to live in a state of paranoia but we need to have a healthy regard for our own safety and well being.

There are a number of things that you can do to maximize your feelings of safety.

Develop a Safety Plan
A safety plan means that you have thought about your personal safety in your own circumstances. By being aware of possible unsafe situations and how you may react if your safety is ever compromised can be empowering. What would I do in an emergency situation, who would I call etc. By following these simple tips you may feel more confident when out and about.

• Be assertive, walk with confidence and be aware of your surroundings
• Vary your routine and stick to well lit roads
• Avoid short cuts and dark, isolated areas
• Walk on the footpath facing the on coming traffic
• Be observant and aware of people who appear suspicious and/or try to distract you. Keep a safe distance and call for assistance if necessary.
• Carry a mobile phone. If out of range the emergency number from mobile phones is 112
• When listening to music, only put the earpiece in one ear. This will ensure you can hear anyone coming up behind you
• Remain active and involved in your community. Generally connected people feel safer and more confident
• You may consider exercise or self defence classes.

Handbag Security
Your handbag or its contents can be stolen in seconds. Your cash and cards will be used shortly after and the inconvenience of replacing everything in your handbag takes time and money. There are often emotional anxieties and sometimes physical injuries as a result of a handbag theft.

By taking a few simple steps you may avoid having your handbag or wallet stolen.

• Carry purses and handbags close to your body. Ensure they are zipped and secure at all times.
• Never leave your handbag unattended in a shopping trolley or on top of a pram. Inattention when purchasing items can lead to handbag theft.
• Be mindful of distractions. Thieves working in pairs may attempt to divert your attention in order to steal your handbag or its contents. One may ask you the time or for directions while the other is stealing your purse from your bag.
• In restaurants and cafes place your bag on your lap. Leaving a bag on the floor or seat beside you is vulnerable to distraction techniques.
• If your bag is stolen report it to the police. Notify your bank or credit card provider as soon as possible. Never keep a written record of your PIN numbers with your cards.
• Never divulge your PIN number. Banks and other agencies will never request this information over the phone or internet.

Using an ATM
• Seek out ATM’s located inside buildings, supermarkets or other busy locations
• Scan the area for suspicious activity prior to using the ATM. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe any time when using the ATM, cancel the transaction and leave.
• When using an ATM shield your PIN number and be alert to anyone watching you. Place your money in your purse/wallet immediately after the transaction and secure your bag. Never overtly count your money in public.
• Do not carry large amounts of cash with you. Withdraw only money needed at the time.
• Make use of eftpos facilities and have your bills direct debited to avoid having to carry cash for bill paying purposes. Payment plans can be direct debited from savings or credit accounts. Contact your service providers for more information.

In your car
• Know where you are going and plan your route
• Ensure you have enough petrol to complete the journey
• Ensure your vehicle is roadworthy and keep up to date with services.
• Be mindful of where you park your car – especially if you are returning to your car when it is dark.
• Have keys in hand ready for use. Avoid fumbling in your bag for keys
• Consider driving with your doors and windows locked
• If you are involved in a road rage situation, do not stop and get out of your car. Obtain the registration number and report the incident to police
• If you are beig followed, do not go home. Do not turn off and drive into unfamiliar areas. Drive to a police station or service station where you can get help and attract attention.
• Your car provides you with a barrier between you and potential danger. Do not get out of the vehicle if you feel unsafe and do not pick up hitch hikers.

For further Information or Assistance
Contact your Local Council or look in this Newsletter for interest groups or facilities that are offered in your area.

Victoria on line is the Victorian State Government’s portal through which you can find Local, State and Federal Government information and services. Contact them on 1300 366 356 or

Victims of Crime Helpline:
Everyone reacts and deals with being a victim of crime in their own way. If you feel you are not coping and need help contact a Victim Support Officer on 1800 819 817 or   They can provide over the phone assistance and referrals to useful contact services and agencies.