Oxford student nightlife
Looking down Queens street at night taken from the High street Junction
Copyright © Greg Smolonski. This image comes from Oxford University Images - All rights reserved.

Nights out

It is important that you find time to relax and socialise during your studies at the University. There are many sports clubs and societies on offer, while the city boasts a fantastic nightlife.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe on a night out.

Nightsafe Oxford

The University is working with the police, council, local businesses, charities, and Oxford Brookes to support women and girls to feel safe on a night out in Oxford. Whether you need a safe place, a phone charger or just a friendly face, there is lots of support under the Nightsafe network. You are invited to report any areas in the city where you feel unsafe on the Oxford women’s safety website (not to be used for emergencies).

 Keep in touch with friends

If you are planning a night out with friends set up a temporary WhatsApp group – that way you can text each other if you find yourself alone, if you have separated from the group or find yourself in a difficult situation.  

Staying safe alone

Go home with friends or in a group, try not to walk home late at night on your own. Consider using a Personal Safety App such as Hollie Guard . If you carry a personal safety alarm, keep it in an easily accessible place and carry it in your hand if you feel at risk.

Try to stick to busy streets and near other people. Avoid areas such as poorly-lit areas, deserted parks, or quiet alleyways and walk facing oncoming traffic.

Safe Lodge scheme

Any Oxford University student can ask for help from any participating college lodge, under the Safe Lodge scheme. Look out for the green circle by the lodge entrance where you can go in and ask for a phone call back to your own college welfare team and a taxi home.

Spiking advice

Both men and women are at risk of having their drink ‘spiked’ (when a drug or extra alcohol is added to your drink without your knowledge).

If you leave your drink unattended, don’t come back and drink it - take it with you or leave with a good friend to watch it.

Never leave a bag or personal item such as a phone unattended.

Ask bar staff if the venue offers drink covers. 

If you think a friend has had their drink spiked, and they are showing any symptoms (nausea, dizziness, confusion) there are a few things you can do to help:

•     Tell a bar manager, bouncer or member of staff
•     Stay with them and keep talking to them
•     Call an ambulance if their condition deteriorates
•     Don’t let them go home on their own
•     Don’t let them leave with someone you don’t know or trust
•     Don’t let them drink more alcohol - this could lead to more serious problems
•     Report the incident to the police by calling 999 or 101

Personal safety is always important, however if someone is assaulted or spiked, it is not their fault. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are - the only person to blame is the person who has done the spiking. Please reach out for help and support if you need it.

Using public transport

If you are planning to use public transport, always check the times of the last train or buses.

Be aware of the details of a trusted, licensed taxi or minicab company or have a suitable booking app available on your phone.

Never take an unlicensed minicab, as these are unchecked, uninsured and can potentially be very dangerous.

Witnessing an issue

If you see someone else in trouble, think twice before trying to help. This may just aggravate the problem and you could end up hurt as well. It may be more helpful to shout for help and call the police on 999, if a life is in danger.

Always dial 999 when you need an urgent police response:

  • A crime is happening
  • Someone suspected of a crime is nearby
  • Someone is injured, being threatened or in danger
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