Useful personal safety tips for your kids

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

A growing number of Australian parents and students are seeking practical ways to improve the personal safety of their children.

The Bursar invited self-defence and personal safety specialists Dave and Shelle Friedman from Krav Maga Evolution and Live Safe Education to share some tips to help children feel safer going to and from school – and in their social time away from school.

The importance of situational awareness

This means being aware of everyone and everything in your environment.

If anything in your environment tingles your ‘Spidey sense’, or makes you feel unsafe, uncomfortable, or vulnerable – TRUST YOUR GUT. Do not dismiss it or fob it off. Listen to your instinct and make an early decision to avoid becoming a victim of a crime or an avoidable accident.

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  • Leave the area
  • Cross the road
  • Go into a shop
  • Get closer to groups of people
  • Get off transport or move carriages
  • Do not get into a vehicle

Read more: Frightened families seek self-defence solutions

Minimise doing things that compromise your levels of situational awareness, such as being on your phone while walking. If you are going to be on your phone, ensure that you lift your head every one-two minutes and look around you.

If you are completely comfortable with everything and everyone in your environment, go back to your phone for another minute. But if you are not, put your phone away and do something to put yourself in a safer position, like the points listed above.

Only have a listening device in one ear, leaving the other ear empty to minimise your hearing being diminished.

If people you do not know gesture to you to come closer to them, whether they are in or out of a vehicle, be cautious. Do not go right up to them or right up to the vehicle. If you do not feel comfortable, walk away, preferably towards other people/well-lit areas.

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If you do decide to engage, keep your distance. You can communicate to someone as well from five metres-10 metres away from them as you can from being right in front of them.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are about to be hurt or become a victim of crime, use your voice in a loud, confident and assertive manner to alert others around you that you need help and draw attention to yourself and the aggressors.
If you have to use physical force to defend yourself, as a last resort, the primary target areas to aim for on the attacker are:

  • eyes
  • nose
  • throat
  • groin
  • knees
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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]