These are all common sense precautions, but worth pointing out anyway:

If you live alone:

  • Make contact with friendly neighbours, and keep a list of their phone numbers at hand.
  • Keep the phone by your bedside at night.
  • Have window locks fitted, a chain on the door, and always lock up whether you're in or out. Especially round the back of the house.
  • Always check identification of service callers (gas, electricity and so on), and don't open the door to strangers.(My elderly neighbour was robbed twice - once by two blokes claiming to be from the Water Board, and again by someone claiming to be from an animal charity)
  • Don't list your female-sounding first name in the phone book. Or on your door bell.


  • A purposeful and confident air is good protection when walking alone. If you are followed, walk up to a house and ring the doorbell. If necessary, break a window.
  • Avoid unlighted areas. Keep doorways and landings well lit. If you have to walk down a dark street, walk in the centre of the road, away from doorways and parked cars. (Obviously, avoid getting run over..)
  • Avoid fumbling for keys at the door - have them in your hand as you arrive.
  • If you know you might be coming home alone at night, always wear clothes and shoes you can run in. Change before you leave, if necessary.
  • Carry a rape alarm, and ensure it isn't clogged with pocket/bag fluff, is fully functional, and you can get at it fast. A small hairspray or deodorant can is also a good idea.
  • On buses: sit as near the driver as possible. On trains, avoid empty carriages.
  • Try to make sure you have enough money for a taxi if you know you might have to go home alone. Alternatively, make sure you know the times of trains and buses, or have planned out the safest possible walking route. Be prepared - yup, very Boy Scout, but very sensible and possibly life-saving.

NB: Not advocating paranoia here, just caution. Stay relaxed and alert.

go back to: Women's self-defence