How can I keep myself and my friends safe?
Remember, it is never your fault if you are feeling unsafe because of the way someone is treating you.
Below are some options you can try to help keep yourself and others safe.
- talking to an adult you believe is safe or you can trust
- learning about what is OK and not OK from professionals:
- avoiding chat rooms or conversations online with people you don’t know
- telling the person that you feel uncomfortable or unsafe
- asking the person to stop what they are doing
- pushing someone away or turning away from them if they are trying to touch you
- avoiding places where you know you are unsafe
- always having a safe person with you.
… like your parents, carers or teachers, or other safe people in your life.
An adult you can trust will put you first, listen to you and believe you – even if they haven’t seen anything that might worry them. They will want to help and will be able to share with you what they are doing to help. They will work with you, not just tell you what to do.
Always tell them if something doesn’t feel right.
You can also ask for help through the support services if you don’t have someone safe you can talk to.
…and listen to your body’s early warning signs. Sometimes your body will tell you if someone or something isn’t safe. You might feel butterflies in your stomach, get shaky hands or a dry mouth, or feel your heart pounding in your chest.
Sometimes you might notice changes in them: they might behave differently and not want to do activities they used to enjoy, start “acting out”, or simply tell you that something has happened to them.
Watch out for the changes, be ready to listen, and check in by asking if there is anything they want to talk about. If they tell you they think they are being groomed or they have been or think they will be sexually abused, it is important to believe them and tell a trusted adult.
If you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe, and you decide to talk to someone, the first person you talk to may not be the right person. Keep telling other trusted adults or safe people in your life until you have been heard, believed and someone helps you.
The right person will listen to you and believe you. They will want to help. They will work with you, not just tell you what to do.