One way for you to make a safer choice is to ask yourself important questions about what you are doing (or thinking of doing), listening to the ‘early warning signs’ and trusting your own judgment, and then developing the skills to keep yourself safe.
If you try to answer some of these questions about the way you’re behaving now, or something you’re thinking of doing, it will help you to understand whether you’re choosing risky behaviours or making safer choices.
Have I thought about the risk I'm taking?
It’s easy to follow others or react to events without really thinking about what you’re doing, and whether you are putting yourself at risk of being hurt or becoming a victim of crime.
How do I feel?
Taking notice of your own feelings is important. You will know the difference between what is fun – even if it is a bit scary – and what is dangerous or too risky. So what is it that you feel; fun or fear?
Am I choosing to do it or is someone making me?
It can be difficult to resist peer pressure, but if people are good friends, they won’t pressurise or force you into doing something that you don’t want to do.
Do I have any control in this, and if it stops being fun will I be able to get out of it?
Even if you’re making a behaviour choice without being put under pressure by other people, it’s important to think about where that choice could lead. If it could result in a situation which could leave you hurt or at risk of real harm, and one which you can’t escape from, you need to seriously consider whether that choice is safe or not.
Does a safe adult know where I am? Will they take action if they are worried about me? Can I get help if I need it?
If you are taking part in activities or behaving in a way that you’re unsure about, it’s really important that you have an adult you trust who knows where you are and what you’re doing, in case you need their help.
It can be difficult to think about some of these things from your own point of view, so try thinking about it as if it was a friend who was behaving in this way. What would you say to them? Would you think they were making a safe choice? How could it be made safer for them?