Enjoying Victoria’s world-class pub, bar, restaurant and entertainment scene with your friends should be fun and free from violence and other dangerous situations.
By looking out for each other and taking some simple precautions, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable night out for you and your friends.
5 key tips to stay safe
- Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
- Keep valuables light, held tight and out of sight.
- Drink safely and within your limits
- Give the impression that you are calm, confident and know where you’re going
- Trust your own judgement and gut instincts. If it doesn’t look or feel right, it might not be.
- Arrange safe transport to and from the venue before leaving home
- Make sure you’ve charged your phone or smartwatch before you leave.
- Always carry your ID, phone and enough cash or a card to cover food, transport any unexpected emergencies.
- Keep all valuables like phones, wallets, purses and cards in zipped pockets or bags. Leave expensive jewellery and watches at home if you can, but but if you must take them out with you, then keep them safely hidden.
- If you’re taking a bag with you, don’t leave it on the ground, under your seat, hanging off your chair or unattended. Keep it securely on your lap, in your hand or over your shoulder.
- Tell friends or family where you are going and when you will be home. Keep them updated.
Drink alcohol safely
- Always stay in control when drinking alcohol. You are more vulnerable to violence, assault, accidents and making unwise decisions when you’ve had too much to drink.
- Alcohol affects everybody differently so get to know your personal limits and stay within them.
- Drink slowly and space your alcoholic drinks out with water to avoid dehydration.
- Keep a mental note of how many alcoholic drinks you’ve had. If you don’t know how many you’ve drunk, it may be time to slow down or stop completely.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach – eat food before and while drinking.
- Never mix alcohol and drugs and try to avoid energy drinks as well.
Be alert for spiking
- Never accept a drink you haven’t seen the bar staff pour.
- Don’t leave your drinks unattended at any point – keep it with you or get a new one if you have to leave it anywhere. Keep an eye on your friends’ drinks as well.
- Remember that even soft drinks or water can be spiked.
- Be wary of strangers offering you their vape. Vapes, like drinks, can be spiked.
Stick with your friends
- There is safety in numbers – always stay within a group when possible. Staying together and looking after one another is one of the best ways to stay safe.
- If you’re going to split from your group of friends, always take someone with you.
- Always a friend friends where you're going before you head off to the toilet, dancefloor, bar or another venue.
- Set up a group chat with your friends so you can stay in touch throughout the night.
- Head home together and make sure everyone knows how and when each of you are getting home.
Take care of each other
- Decide with your friends beforehand to look out for each other.
- If your friends get caught up in fights or arguments with others, attempt to diffuse the situation or take them away from it, if you can do so safely.
- If you tend to pick fights when you’re drunk or on drugs, seek help and advice from your doctor, counsellor or social worker.
- Never leave your friends in case something goes wrong and you, or they, need to get help.
- Don’t leave friends alone with somebody they’ve just met.
- Recognise when a friend has had too much to drink and encourage them to slow down.
- Never leave someone who is drunk or passed out – get them immediate medical help.
- Always make sure your friends get home safely.
Stay away from unsafe situations
- Don’t be a hero – walk away from potentially dangerous or violent situations. If someone aggressively confronts you, walk away. If there is a fight or argument, stay out of it and take your friends with you. Get help from bouncers, security, police or call Triple Zero (000).
- Don’t under-estimate the dangers of a single punch – a head injury can lead to serious brain injury, or even death, if left untreated. Call for an ambulance on Triple Zero (000).
- Don’t go off with a person you’ve only just met. Stay in the public place and stick with your friends. If you’re interested in a new acquaintance, get a phone number or social media handle.
- If someone is harassing you, simply walk away if you can. If you can’t walk away, tell them “No, thank you” in firm, confident but polite way. If they persist, try to move nearer to your friends, the bartender, or security.
If you feel unsafe
- Make sure you are not isolated – stay with your friends and head to a well-lit, busy area where there’s other people around.
- If you’re alone, find someone such as a police officer, security guard, customer service person or bartender, whom you will feel safer around and stay with them until the unsafe situation passes.
- If you feel unsafe at a venue or party, leave and go somewhere safe.
- If you are in danger, a crime is in progress or you need police or ambulance immediately, call Triple Zero (000)
- If you are experiencing unwanted sexual or anti-social behaviour on public transport, which is non-urgent, you can notify Victoria Police by texting STOPIT to 0499 455 455 (STOPIT is not monitored live).