Freshers - how to keep yourself safe

Freshers - How to keep yourself safe

Ever done the ‘walk of shame?’ Ever had beer fear or hangover shame?

Don’t worry if you said yes. Most people if they are honest have been on ‘that’ night out, the one where you can remember bits but wish you couldn’t.

When you arrive at University, the first thing you are involved in is Fresher’s week, lots of parties, new places, new people and alcohol! And a whole heap of pressure to have FUN!

We know a big part of the student experience is about the social life, new experiences and doing all the stuff you know you won’t get away with as an adult!

Going out and having fun is great, but you need to keep yourself safe.

 Sadly, there are always going to be some unscrupulous individuals who are predatory and will take advantage of people who are under the influence of alcohol, or indeed substances.

We have recently seen the consequences of a spate of ‘spiking’ incidents with unknown substances. This is incredibly dangerous and can result in criminal activity or sexual assault or could result in serious illness or death due to the substance used. People who have had their drink spiked have been taken to cash machines and had their bank accounts emptied; they have suffered serious sexual assault or rape; have had lasting effects of the substance or in the worst cases have died.

The key message is…

Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know.

If you think your drink has been spiked or someone you are with starts to behave in a bizarre manner that is out of character – GO AND ASK FOR HELP.

Stay with your group, and make sure you look after each other.

Make sure your phone is charged before you go out.

Keep taxi numbers handy, and make sure you have money to one side to get home.

Alongside the issue of alcohol and substances, there is the issue of consent.

Hook ups and one night stands with a randomer are ok but again you need to be sure you are safe, stay clean and you understand what is meant by consent?

The definition of consent is:

- permission for something to happen or agreement to do something

- give permission for something to happen.

For consent to be considered legally, it has to be given by an individual who possesses and exercises sufficient mental capacity to make an intelligent and informed decision. Can you honestly do this when you have drunk 16 cocktails and 5 Jaeger bombs? Doubtful isn’t it?

If you do hook up with someone you need to ensure that your friends know where you are and who you are with. Ensure you are able to leave a situation and if you feel threatened or scared by someone’s behaviour whilst in a bar you can go to the staff and ‘Ask for Angela’. This is a code known in bars and will make staff aware you are uncomfortable and they will ensure you are safe and have support.

If you are out in the town centre and feel uncomfortable, scared or not sure how to get home, you can contact AMBER taxis as part of the Safer Leeds Scheme. To use the scheme see below:

  • Call on 0113 2022117 and quote University of Leeds Safe Car Scheme.
  • Provide the operator with your full name, email address and University card number.
  • The operator will arrange for a car to be sent as a priority to your location.
  • Show the driver your University card upon arrival.
  • The driver will take you to your student residential address, halls of residence, a police station or hospital.
  • Please be aware that this service is to be used in emergency situations only. Leeds University SU will guarantee the payment for you and they’ll be in touch to arrange how to settle up.

You can get more hints and tips of how to be safe on a night out in our Tenancy Support Guide.

Remember Freshers is about fun, getting to know people and exploring your new city, make sure you do all of that but STAY SAFE.

Our October Article will be about Noise and how to be a considerate neighbour. Make sure you have a look.

See you next month.