How to Protect Yourself and Your Family


Awareness of the surrounding area and people's activities around you are the most important aspect of assault prevention. To help prevent or minimize your chances of being involved in an assault situation you can:

THINK about potentially dangerous situations. Imagine yourself, and/or your family, in different kinds of situations and ask yourself "What would I do if...?" Your imagination should include situations in your home, at work, using public transit, travel scenarios, and vacations away from home.

TALK about these situations with your family, friends, colleagues and neighbors. Compare and contrast solutions.

PLAN how you might react using your verbal and non-verbal skills plus any physical techniques you feel comfortable using (e.g., strong kick to the shins and then getting away). Take a self-defense program and then teach other family members or take a course together.

PRACTISE so that your mental reflexes are conditioned to respond rapidly and effectively. Your reaction time should be similar to how you would react if a child ran in front of your car.

Crimes are committed against vulnerable people; not against prepared people. Your body language, safety precautions at home and work, and the ability of your family to protect itself will tell you if you are vulnerable.

The following tips can help you ensure that you and your family are not vulnerable. Enjoy learning them and keep in mind that different situations require different degrees of preparation. This resource is designed to help you determine your response before situations arise.

N.B. The principle of using these interviewing skills effectively is to participate actively in the process of using these skills, organize your skills, persist during difficult times, and be creative. The more effectively we use our skills, the more time we have to enjoy other parts of our lives.

Memory Aids

A content guide is a sequential preview and summary of what exists in the resource. Content guides are used most often by people who prefer to remember information in a sequential, logical format. A memory map is a diagram that previews and summaries the contents of each resource. Memory maps are used most often by people who prefer to remember information in a visual format.

There are several approaches for using these content guides and memory maps. Either:

1. Use the content guide and/or the memory map to preview the resource.
2. Use the content guide and/or the memory map to review the resource after you have read it.
3. Use the content guide and/or the memory map to preview and review the resource.

When you have decided how you want to use the content guide and/ or the memory map you can begin to add your own personal notes and ideas directly to these basic preview-review pages. Use your creativity to add personal points to these pages so that they will serve you better as a memory tool. Use different colored pens to highlight specific points or to color code significant points to information in other resources. Change the order of the information or revise the diagrams in whatever ways you think might help you. Do not be restricted by what I have presented since the content guides and memory maps represent only one way to remember the knowledge and skills in the resources.

Content Guide


Home Safety
Child Safety
Street Safety
Assault Situations
"Will I Panic?"
Home Safety Checklist
Identity Game
Self-Awareness Quiz

Memory Map


In 1976-1977 I did volunteer work in Latin America with street children in an orphanage, prison and in their small community called Pueblito. On a few occasions in the prison or late at night going home I felt uncertain of how to protect myself. I wanted to be more thoughtful about what I could do to safeguard myself without hurting anyone else.

After completing my university degree I decided to learn how to protect myself. The following information was part of that learning and I am grateful to the instructors, students and friends who let me practice with them.

One person in particular, Janet Klees, provided not only encouragement and support but was also instrumental in ensuring that the information was practical, immediately useful and suitable for women, men and children. Her contribution was invaluable. I also want to thank my family and friends who have given me their encouragement, their good humor and the example of always looking for wonder.

Every effort has been made to ensure these resource materials comply with copyright requirements. If I have made any errors regarding copyright, I will incorporate corrections sent to me in future editions of these resources.


How to Protect Yourself

and Your Family

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Copyright © 1989, 1993, 1999, 2006 Harry van Bommel

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