Evolution Martial Arts & Fitness Academy

Wilkes Academy, Westmead Industrial Estate, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN5 7YT.

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Do You Want To Stay Safe at University and College?

Heading off to university or college can be a time of overwhelm for everyone involved.

Most likely you will be moving to a new city, living alone for the first time and experiencing boundless opportunity, excitement and freedom!

But, we are often told, by parents and students alike, that one of your major concerns is how to stay safe at university.

This blog outlines how you can stay safe and enjoy your time at university.

And, due to popular demand, we have self defence 4 week course with essential self defence and personal safety advice.

We are going to share with you some of our top tips on how to stay safe at university and tell you more about accessing our self defence training for students.



Unfortunately, students are often targets for criminals and predators. When criminals profile a potential victim they are looking for an easy target. And sadly, a young person, in a new city, living away from home, distracted by all the fun stuff going on and generally paying little attention to their own safety or that of their high-value belongings, fits the bill.

Plus, rented student accommodation is notoriously poor and is likely to have old, unsecure windows and doors.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales states that:

  • Men and women aged 16 to 24 years were more likely to be victims of sexual assault than those aged 25+

  • Full-time students were more likely to have experienced sexual assault than people in any other occupation type.

Statistics Report ‘Overview of burglary and other household theft:

  • Where the household reference person was a younger adult (aged 16 to 24), households tend to be more likely victims of domestic burglary than those where the household reference person was in older age groups.

We are not trying to scare you with these statistics, we just want you to be fully aware of the risks

If you know the risks then you can take preventative action to mitigate them and stay safe.



  • Burglary – valuable possessions such as laptops and phones in unsecured accommodation

  • Phone snatching – taking advantage of students with headphones or who are distracted

  • Bike theft – due to the high numbers of students using bikes to get around

  • Assault – can be during a mugging but also between students due to alcohol and drugs

  • Sexual assault and rape – most of these crimes are committed by someone known to the victim.



If you are thinking this all sounds a bit depressing, don’t despair – you don’t have to be a victim!

You can take control and learn how to keep yourself safe.

Our number one piece of advice for every student is to take responsibility for your own personal safety and that of your belongings.

Having been young ourselves once, we know that safety is the last thing on your mind, especially when starting university.

You want to go out, enjoy yourself and live life to the full – and you 100% can do this.

Just take a few precautions and stay switched on.

Doing this can save you and your family the trauma of a burglary, robbery, assault or sexual attack.


Trust your instinct

Learning to trust your gut instinct is one of the most important skills we teach.

Many people think self defence is about learning punching, kicking or martial arts – it is not!

Self defence is about knowing yourself, knowing the psychology of attackers and how attacks happen, avoiding dangerous situations and having a simple but effective physical response, should you need it.

Try tuning into your gut instinct and start listening to it.

Our subconscious picks up on all types of signals that you aren’t consciously aware of. It could be someone’s unnatural body language, someone stood in the wrong place, their clothes that don’t fit the situation or the natural flow of people that has been disrupted.

If you feel something is off, then it probably is. Act on that feeling – never dismiss it and never tell yourself that you’re being silly.

This might mean turning around instead of going through an underpass, asking for help from a bus driver, or running away.

Do whatever it takes to listen to and honour what your body is telling you.

Not sure what gut instinct is? It can be different for many people and can include:

  • A weird uneasy feeling in your stomach or butterflies

  • Goosebumps on your arms

  • Tightness in your chest

  • Heart beating faster

  • A feeling of dread or anxiety.


Be prepared and responsible

  1. Fully research the area you will be living in, look at:

    • Crime hot spots

    • Safe taxi schemes and student night bus routes.

  2. Keep a secure file with a copy of all your important documents e.g. passport, driving licence, insurance phone number, bank phone number and emergency numbers such as your landlord and parents. Also, your phone’s IMEI number. Bascially, everything you would need if your purse and phone were stolen.

  3. Plan ahead – think about where you are going, with whom and how you will get home.

  4. Take a fully charged mobile phone with your friend’s numbers and emergency contacts.

  5. Save money for a taxi and keep it separate so you don’t spend it without realising it. Have taxi numbers in your phone or pre-book.

  6. Don’t drink too much! When you are drunk you are much less likely to pay attention to what is around you and this could put you in a dangerous situation. Do not risk walking home drunk, you are an easy target for a criminal or predator. if you choose to take drugs, be aware of how they will affect you and that your senses and judgement will be affected.

  7. Keep an eye on your drink and, as tempting as it is, do not accept drinks from strangers. Drink spiking is happening at universities across the UK. Always keep your drink with you and covered up.

  8. Don’t be fooled into thinking campus is a safe place with no crime – attacks, robberies and rapes are reported every year at universities. And many more are never reported because people feel shame afterwards.

  9. Don’t go out alone at night – arrange to meet friends and stay with a group.

  10. Stay in well-lit areas with other people around. Do not take shortcuts and never go through a park at night.

  11. Don’t wear headphones or use your mobile phone while walking on the street – concentrate on what and who is around you.

  12. Don’t leave your bike unattended and unlocked – even for 5 minutes. Many crimes are not planned and are committed by opportunists who spot an easy target and go for it.


Secure your accommodation

Burglaries are rife in rented student housing – avoid this upsetting crime by taking precautions.

  1. Ensure your rented accommodation is secure. If the windows and doors don’t lock properly or are not in a fit state, demand that they are fixed or replaced.

  2. Ask if you can fit an additional lock or bolt on your room or inside the accommodation if you do not feel safe.

  3. If your property has a garden, yard or gate, make sure it has a padlock on it and that you use it!

  4. Always lock your windows and doors when you go out – and make sure your roommates do too! This sounds obvious but around 50% of student burglaries are due to windows or doors being left open or unlocked.

  5. Hide valuable items out of sight within your room. Be creative and find a random place for them.

  6. Don’t leave anything of value in your student property during holidays.

  7. Register your belongings using free national property register. This won’t prevent your possessions being stolen but it might increase the chance of you getting them back.

  8. Get insurance for high-value items.

  9. Take photographs of your high-value items, especially your bike and anything with serial numbers etc.



We hope that you will never find yourself in a situation where you need to defend yourself physically.

If you do then you will need to use your own judgement as to how to respond. In our training 4 week course, we discuss different scenarios and what is both appropriate and effective, as well as the law in the UK in relation to self defence.

For example, if someone is trying to steal your bag and is threatening you – give them the bag. Or even better, throw the bag away from them and you, and run.

Don’t get into an unnecessary fight over property – it can be replaced but you can’t!

However, if someone is threatening you and physically trying to get you into their car or down a dark alley then you need to act fast with a physical response. Run if you can, as well as shouting, screaming and causing a distraction.

If you can not get away and you have to fight, then focus on their soft target areas such as eyes and throat. Switch on your animal survival instinct and do what it takes to get away safely.

In our self defence training, we teach techniques that anyone of any age and physical ability can use to defend themselves.

These techniques are simple, easy to remember and are extremely effective.



Although your daughter or son has grown up and is leaving home, don’t underestimate how much support they still need.

Even if they do not ask for it, they need your experience, knowledge and skills to help them through the next few years.

Here are a few things you can do to help them now:

  1. Visit their new home and city in advance of starting university and scope it out together. Take a couple of days to explore, check out the good areas and find out where the not-so-good areas are.

  2. Support them to deal with student accommodation landlords, perhaps even stepping in to have a stern word if the landlord is dismissive of them.

  3. Help them to secure their home, room and property.

  4. Talk about safety and security with them. Make sure they know they can talk to you no matter what it is, with no judgement.

  5. Discuss different scenarios with them to see how they would react and if you can offer advice. What would you do if you lost your money and friends on a night out? What would you do if someone was following you home?



If you would like to learn self defence and discover more about how to stay safe at university we have several options for you:

  1. Enrol on our complete self defence and personal safety course for students.

  2. Book a family self defence session in advance of attending university.

  3. Ask your university or college to put on a self defence session for students.

Book your free trial at Evolution Martial Arts and Fitness Academy…

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