Walking home on your own at night, going out with someone you’ve never met, exploring new places, getting lost in a new city — these are all situations in which we could feel vulnerable or unsafe. Everybody has their tips and tricks if they think they may be in a dangerous situation: sticking to brightly lit places with people around, calling a friend, walking with keys between knuckles. But there’s also lots of resources and tools you can access to help you feel that extra bit safer when you’re out and about.
With that in mind, we’ve gathered some of the best personal safety support, resources and apps you should know about – even if it’s just to make you that little bit less anxious right now.
Feeling safe and supported on campus
Campus Security Team
Our friendly Security team provides support and advice on campus and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your safety is their top priority, so make sure you get in touch if you need help. To report any on-campus incidents, contact the Security Control Room on 0161 306 9966.
For safety at your fingertips, download the SafeZone app today. The app is a great way to get in touch with our Security team quickly and discreetly call for assistance, whether it’s for a first aid incident or in an emergency.
Please remember to call 999 in the event of a life-threatening emergency or if you or someone you’re with requires immediate medical attention.
Report and Support
Acts of harassment, discrimination or hate are never ok. If you think you or someone you know has been sexually harassed, you can report something anonymously or get support from an advisor with our Report and Support platform. Our service is there for you and will help you with anything from personal support to making a formal complaint or police report.
If you choose to report and speak confidentially to an advisor, we will use the information you have supplied to us to put you in contact with an advisor who can support you.
Free personal alarms
Our Student Support team has made hundreds of free panic alarms available to students. If you are outside your home for an essential activity – such as collecting post or grocery shopping – and would like an alarm, you can pick one up in the following locations:
Reception at the Tower in Fallowfield (open 10am – 3pm, Monday to Friday)
Alan Gilbert Learning Commons
There are a number of student groupsyou can access to get peer-to-peer advice and support, as well as get involved in events and initiatives that tackle sexual harassment in Manchester. The Manchester Students Against Public Sexual Harassment group is Facebook group that acts as a virtual place for all those passionate about ending Public Sexual Harassment (PSH) in Manchester to come together and support each other.
+ Resist Rape Culture student group
SU Advice Centre
The SU are there to support you with any questions, worries or concerns you might have, with dedicated student advisors who can help you with anything personal that is going on. The Advice Centre provides a confidential space where you can talk about anything that’s on your mind. They can help you to access additional support through the University and relevant external support organisations.
Visit our student support website for more on personal safety and a list of resources. For more information on staying safe both on and off campus, see our top tips for staying safe.
Feeling safe in the city
The Manchester Safe Taxi Scheme
The Safe Taxi Scheme has been set up in collaboration with StreetCars so that students can get home safely – if you don’t have any cash, you can call StreetCars quoting ‘Manchester SU Safe Taxi Scheme’ and leave your student ID card with them as temporary payment. All you have to do then is pay your fare by 12pm the next day at the Students’ Union Helpdesk and collect your student ID card.
Alternatively, upload your card details on the StreetCars app so you can pay by card. That way you don’t need to cash out or to leave your student ID card behind. More details can be found here.
Manchester Safe Zones
If you are in the Oxford Road area, Manchester Safe Zones have been set up for anyone being followed, feeling vulnerable or are unwell. All premises participating in the scheme have a ‘Safe Zone’ sticker on display in the window.
You can wait for the problem to pass, call a taxi or get help from the business or they can call the police if required. Asda and Tesco have also promised that people can use stores as a ‘safe space’ while you wait for a taxi, a friend or public transport.
Tips, resources and apps
If you need to make an emergency call on an iPhone, you can press your lock button 5 times to activate a loud siren and countdown to 3 before calling emergency services and sending an alert to your emergency contacts of your situation and location. Search ‘Emergency SOS’ on your iPhone to set it up.
Samsung Android phones carry emergency call buttons on their lock screens.
‘Hey Siri i’m being pulled over’ iPhone shortcut
This one is designed for car drivers, it requires downloading, it only works on the operating system iOS 12 and above – and certain permissions will have to be activated first.
However, if you’ve completed the necessary steps, saying “Hey Siri, I’m being pulled over” will result in the phone screen dimming, pausing any music that’s playing, activating do not disturb and starting a video recording through the front-facing camera.The handset will also send an automated message to a chosen emergency contact saying that the owner has been pulled over, and giving their location.
This is a good one if you don’t want to make space for another app on your phone. All you have to do is text Kitestring to let them know what time they should check in with you. If you text that you’re ‘OK’ within that time, you won’t get a response, but if there’s no text from you they’ll send a message to your chosen emergency contact.
This app allows you to contact the University Security Team directly if you are in a situation where you feel unsafe or in an immediate emergency. Once activated, your exact location is shared with Security and they can contact you through the app to check in on you and send help if needed. You can also use the app to ‘check in’ to campus when you arrive, and ‘check out’ when you leave for extra peace of mind.
This is the highest-rated app designed to keep women safe. SafetiPin offers functions like tracking GPS location to help calculate the best routes to keep you safe. The app also shares details like nearby safe spots where the user can go in case of an emergency, with pinned locations marked with safety scores.
Created for families, Life360 allows you to create ‘circles’ where you can add friends or family members into specific groups who will then have access to your location all the time – as long as your location is turned on on your phone.
The app can send real-time alerts when you arrive or leave destinations, as well as having a ‘Safety’ section where you can tap a ‘Help Alert’ which tells those in your circle that you feel unsafe 10 seconds after pressing.
One Scream uses voice activation to connect you with people who can help. If the app is on in the background, it’ll pick up if the user screams. That’ll trigger the app to sound a siren and give the user 20 seconds to cancel it, before sending an automated message with the phone’s location to chosen contacts. If you have an Android, the app will also call a contact after 20 seconds, so they can hear what’s happening.
bSafe has a range of features, such as an SOS button, which can be activated by touch or voice and records your surroundings to send to your chosen contacts, and lets you invite your contacts to follow your location via GPS. There’s also a Fake Call feature, which you can use to make your phone ring to get you out of situations you’re unsure of.
Reclaim the Night
Reclaim the Night is an annual campaign against sexual harassment and gender-based violence. Each year we take to the streets to march for an end to violence against women and the right to feel safe on our streets at night.
No woman should ever have to fear for her safety on our streets and the devastating events of recent days have shown how important it is that we continue to raise our voices against sexual violence and street harassment.
While COVID-19 restrictions mean students can’t come together to march this year, we support the Students’ Union to help unite, to raise awareness, amplify the voices of women and demand action from local authorities to make Manchester’s streets safer.
Find out more about this year’s march on the Students’ Union website.