Please be aware that there are no perfect protection strategies. There is no way to predict all possible situations. These tips are intended to reduce, not eliminate, the risk of assault.
- The primary responsibility for any sexual assault rests with the offender and not the victim. Unfortunately, you can take all reasonable measures to reduce your risk and still be assaulted.
- Knowledge is power. Though many sex offenders are NOT known to law enforcement, you can educate yourself about those known offenders who reside in your community by contacting your local law enforcement agency.
- Remember: Most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. A stranger does not pose the highest risk to you. 80-95% of sex offenders are known to their victims and include relatives, friends and authority figures. If you feel uncomfortable in someone's presence, trust your instincts. Take steps to distance yourself from him or her. Don't be afraid to make a scene if necessary. Many assault victims report that they were too polite. Tell someone!
- Avoid high-risk situations. Be observant and aware of your surroundings. Avoid poorly lit areas where an attacker might hide. Identify safe people in your neighborhood that you or your children can go to if you need help. Be thoughtful and use good judgment in choosing your friends and partners. Be careful of your use of alcohol and drugs; you are more vulnerable to attack if you are intoxicated. Do not leave your food or drink unattended at a party or in a public place. Don't be embarrassed to use security staff at work or when shopping to walk you to your car. Do not pick up hitchhikers or stop to help a stranger in a stalled vehicle; use a phone in a safe location to call for help. Be cautious about making personal contact with those you meet on the Internet or in other similar environments.
- Do not harass a known sex offender. Initiating contact with an SVP can increase the risk of you or your family being victimized or may drive the offender underground, placing others at greater risk.
- For more detailed information on personal and family safety, go to: www.stopitnow.org.