Facebook group set up to help ensure female student safety
Group set up after spate of muggings and assaults
Two university students have today created a Facebook Group aimed at protecting female students in Hull.
The group will allow female students to ask if anyone else in their area is able to walk with them to ensure those who feel vulnerable don't have to walk around Hull on their own.
The move comes after successive attacks against women in Hull, including muggings, a knife attack yesterday on Beresford and, of course, the tragic disappearance of Libby Squire almost a month ago.
The group will also be used for students to alert others to crimes and where to be on the look-out; and and hub for information on how to stay safe, key contacts and best taxi companies to use.
The 'Girl Gang' group is not the first of its kind, with Manchester and Sheffield 'Girl Gangs' having existed for a few years. Most recently 'Lincoln Girl Gang Chat' was created and has accrued over 3,000 likes in just 4 months.
Admin Phoebe said she hates that this is a necessary step in ensuring the safety of female students in Hull, but the sad reality is that students now have to provide support for each-other.
Fellow admin Laura said that she and her friends are already using private messenger and apps like Life360 and Find My Friends to keep track of each other, so it made sense to coordinate help on a community-wide basis.
A student who was mugged and attacked with a knife on Beresford in the early hours of this morning posted on Facebook asking fellow students to ensure "they only walk round at night in groups, and to make sure they are aware of their surroundings. I just don't want this to happen to anybody else!"
How to stay safe
The Metropolitan Police offers their own advice for staying safe on the streets with 9 simple tips you can follow:
Be prepared – Planning your route in advance is key. A charged phone and some cash, as well as telling someone where you’re going.
Be assertive – Walk with confidence and be assertive.
Be aware – Many factors can affect your awareness of your surroundings such as music or texting.
Hide it – Keep your valuables hidden. Out of sight, out of mind.
Go against the flow – When walking on the pavement, always face oncoming traffic, as it will make it far more difficult for thieves on two wheelers to ride up from behind and snatch your property. But still also be aware of anyone approaching from ahead of you.
Trust your instincts – If you do have to walk, stick to busy places where a lot of activity CCTV and good lighting is.
Make a plan – And stick to it.
Be vigilant – Keep an eye on how much you drink and never let your glass or bottle out of your sight.
The Girl Gang Sheffield, Manchester and Lincoln groups are more like conventional university Facebook groups, with posts about events, societies, socials, housing adverts and other university posts; however the founding Admins of Hull Girl Gang—Phoebe Bastiani and Laura Challinor—have agreed that in the current safety climate in Hull at the moment, the page will be exclusively about ensuring female students' safety.
You can use the Hull Girl Gang yourself in a step towards making the streets safer for women in the Hull area. You can find the closed group here and request to be added.