As the woman walked towards the bank to deposit her employer’s daily cash takings, she was aware of someone behind her. The person seemed too close for comfort. Seconds later, an assailant grabbed the bag the woman was carrying and they struggled. She tried to hold onto the bag and he tried to pull it away. He punched her to the side of the head and she fell over, releasing the bag. The robber ran away carrying several thousand dollars in untraceable bank notes.
Police will tell you that unprovoked, personal assaults occur every day of the week in all parts of Australia. The worst end up in rape and all too often serious injury or death of a victim. How then do you protect yourself?
Many protective devices available overseas are prohibited in Australia. Mace spray, high voltage stun guns, knives, batons etc. are all outlawed and if we are found in possession of them, stiff penalties apply. Where does that leave us?
Some people suggest you could use a high beam LED torch with a strobe light, the intention being to shine it in the assailant’s eyes and disorient them while you escape. Sounds good, but you have to lug a torch around with you and then if you are attacked from behind, you won’t have time to take it out of your bag, select the strobe setting and then point it towards your assailant. The same can be said of the other abovementioned solutions.
Another consideration is that by law, you are only allowed to apply the same level of force against an assailant as the assailant uses. If the force you use is deemed excessive under the circumstances, you may be charged with assault.
Probably the best lawful solution then is an audible alarm. They are small, light and easy to operate sending out very high pitched alternating sounds that scare an offender off and alert people within hearing that someone needs help.
If you are attacked from behind, a common strategy of rapists who place their hand over a victim’s mouth while wrestling them to the ground, you still have your hands free to set off your alarm.
There are numerous inexpensive audible alarms on the market. The best I have seen is the SafeSound Personal Alarm because it works like a hand grenade, you separate the alarm from a connecting pin, which means it can’t be turned off without reinserting the pin. It’s very loud and runs for up to 30 minutes according to the manufacturer. You can hang the device from a belt, handbag, backpack, which means it is readily accessible — you just need to pull it down to separate it from the holding pin and activate it. You can however, keep it wherever you wish, but time can be lost trying to get it out of your pocket or handbag.
Personal safety alarms can provide an extra piece of mind for seniors, children, those living or working alone, people recovering from illness or surgery, as well as their loved ones and carers. When triggered, such alarms can send an emergency alert to a preset mobile phone number or a 24-hour monitoring service; there are other options for communication too.