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Socialising safely

By UALHalls 18 Jan 2022

Nightlife and socialising are a huge part of the London experience for lots of students. 

The city offers world-class entertainment, including theatre, concerts, nightclubs, and comedy venues, some of which we promote here on Halls Life and as part of our Halls Life events.  

As much as we hope that your time at UAL is the best experience possible, we would like to reiterate that your Halls team and the wider University are always here for you if something ever does happen. There is lots of support available should you need advice, someone to talk to, or need to report something, which you’ll be able to find in this article. 

Making travel arrangements 

  • You might want to share with a friend where you are going, who you are going with and when you’re planning to return. 
  • Try to take a fully charged phone with you in case of emergency. 
  • You can use CityMapperGoogle Maps or the TFL journey planner to plan your route in advance. 
  • It's useful to check the last train, tube or bus times, so you know when you need to leave. 
  • You might want to tell a friend where you are going and try to take a fully charged phone with you in case of emergency. 
  • If it's very quiet, you might prefer to sit on the lower deck of the bus. Try to avoid sitting in empty train carriages if you can. 
  • If you decide to travel by taxi, use a licensed minicab or black cab. A licensed cab should have a registered license ID number on the back of the vehicle just above the registration number plate. 
  • You can use the Transport for London website to find a licensed cab service, or use a well-known taxi service, such as Uber
  • Try to keep your valuables close to you and out of sight, as it can get busy on public transport. 

Whilst you’re out  

  • If you are going out with friends, try to look out for one another and stay together if you can. 
  • At night, try to stick to busy places where there is a lot of activity and good lighting. 
  • Pickpockets are rare in London but may operate in busy areas. Try to keep your bag closed, and don't leave valuables on the back of a chair or by your feet where you can't see them. 
  • We recommend leaving important documents (like your passport and BRP card) safe at home. 
  • Keep your purse or wallet close to your body and don't carry too much cash. 

In your hall 

  • Do not let anyone follow you into the building (commonly described as tailgating) unless they have their own key.  
  • Make sure that all guests are accompanied at all times. All residents have their own keys.  
  • Do not put yourself at risk by approaching anyone acting suspiciously. Alert a member of staff or security. 
  • Do not prop open flat doors. All doors must be closed when not in use. This is also important for fire safety.  
  • Always remember to lock your bedroom door when you're out or going to sleep. 

Sexual consent 

  • UAL are committed to promoting a positive consent culture and raising awareness of support both within and outside the University. No one ever deserves to experience any form of sexual violence or harassment and it is never the survivor’s fault. 
  • This short online training module aims to start a conversation about what sexual consent means and challenge myths surrounding sexual violence.  
  • If you have been affected by sexual violence, there is a range of support available at UAL, which you can find in our Halls Life article, and the University’s website

Drink spiking 

  • Over the last few weeks, you may have seen information in the news about drink spiking. 
  • Spiking refers to when a drug or substance has been added to your drink without your knowledge or consent. Spiking can also occur by injection. 
  • Symptoms of spiking include lowered inhibitions, loss of balance, feeling sleepy, confusion, vomiting or falling unconscious. 
  • The charity Drink Aware has put together a fact sheet for information and support on the subject of drink spiking, including what to do if you think you, or someone you are with may have been spiked.  

Accessing support  

  • Many venues in London now offer the ‘Ask for Angela’ for service. If you feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened, you can discreetly seek help by approaching venue staff and asking for ‘Angela’. A trained member of staff will then support you by calling a taxi, venue security and/or Police. 
  • If you or someone you know is in immediate danger on a night out, seek assistance by alerting the venue or security staff as soon as possible. 
  • In an emergency, always call 999. 
  • UAL students can speak with someone from our Health Advice team about lifestyle (including alcohol, drugs and smoking), physical wellbeing and sexual health. 
  • If you would like to speak with a trained counsellor for support, free, one-to-one, confidential counselling is available to all UAL students. 

Remember, you do not have to report a crime to the police immediately (or ever) if you don’t want to.  

What happens next is completely your choice. You can access support and information by contacting ‘Tell Someone’ or through the UAL Counselling Service. They will listen to you and support you to make decisions that are right for you.  

Other services and organisations that could help you include: 

Your Halls team 

  • All our halls are staffed 24/7 and have either a Residence Manager or Accommodation Managers who manage the team in each hall.  
  • You can visit reception to contact your Residence Manager or Accommodation Manager or call the site phone which is monitored 24/7 if you want to talk to your hall manager. You can find the contact information by looking at your hall welcome guide.  
  • Our Out of Hours team also work throughout the night and over the weekend period at our halls. They can be contacted by your hall’s team should you need a chat, advice or help during the night or on the weekend.