Emma Fradgley went to join a workshop on self-defence techniques for women

Following the tragic death of Sarah Everard almost one year ago, a company in Worcester has been educating its female employees in self-defence techniques.

SJL insurance, in The Tything, has been running workshops for their female employees to attend in order to feel safer when out and about and they invited me to take part. 

The session began with us filling out a questionnaire with questions like "how aware are you of distraction techniques?" or "how confident are you of techniques to make yourself a hard target?"

We were shocked to realise that we did not feel prepared whatsoever if we were to walk out onto the street there and then and be targeted by an attacker. 

So, what should you do to put yourself at the lowest possible risk of being attacked?

1. Keep strangers at arm’s length

Never allow anyone to get close to you - kindness does not equal good intentions. Talk with your hands as much as possible to create distance between yourself and the potential attacker.

2. Be hyper-aware when walking

The firm advises that you walk with a friend where possible. Don’t walk with earphones in and walk towards the direction of traffic to eliminate the possibility of a car stopping behind you without you seeing. Avoid walking close to hedges, alleyways, and parked cars where you can.

3. Park as safely as possible

Lock your car door as soon as you get in. Park as close as possible to a main building and avoid secluded spots. Pay attention to your surroundings when getting in and out of your car.


'Armed with skills'

The workshop was led by John Lenegan, Director of Prepared People Ltd, who said: "We pose ten questions pre-course and post-course to get a generalisation of the group's preparedness for an attack.

"Pre-course, it was 13% and post-course it was 93%."

Lauren Evans from SJL said: “I really enjoyed it and John is so lovely and makes you feel so at ease. As hard as it was listening to the statistics, it's good to come away from the session feeling more self-aware and educated."

Simon Lancaster, CEO of SJL, said: "When John came to me and said he had designed this course, primarily aimed at women, and giving them the tools and the knowledge to avoid situations and prevent violent situations, I jumped at the chance to get him in. 

"We're really keen to arm them with the skills and awareness to avoid situations and help them be safe.”