Aberdeen is one of the safest cities in the UK and been awarded five consecutive Purple Flags for safety in the city centre. Purple Flag status is given to UK towns and cities in recognition of the safety and security enjoyed by their residents, and Aberdeen is one of only two Scottish cities to receive accreditation.
Always be aware of your surroundings, stick to well-lit, busy roads with pavements and avoid short cuts through parks or alleyways particularly when its dark. If you are cycling, make sure to wear reflective clothing and cycle in the same direction as the traffic.
Most bars, shops and restaurants will accept card payments. If you choose to use a cash machine always remember to hide your pin and keep your money out of view.
Personal attack alarms are good to have, keep it in your pocket or somewhere you have easy access to so you can use it immediately if you need to. Choose a type which continues to sound if you activate and then drop it. You should not carry weapons such as knifes or pepper spray this is illegal and if caught in possession could result in a heavy fine.
If you're sexually active, it is important to stay safe and to be informed. You should never feel pressured to have sex. Everyone has the right to be safe in their relationships free from physical or verbal violence.
You must give your consent (permission) every time you have sex. Consent cannot be given if you are heavily under the influence of alcohol or drugs, are asleep or are being threatened with physical violence.
If someone tries to have sex with you without your consent, this is rape and against the law. The University does not tolerate sexual violence and harassment. If you are looking to report an incident of sexual violence or harassment please visit our online reporting tool or contact Student Advice & Support.
What is Consent
Sexual consent means a person willingly agrees to have sex or engage in a sexual activity. This is known as 'free agreement'. To give consent, the person must be able to make their own decisions. Consent is not a one-off - it can be withdrawn at any time. Being in any form of relationship, whether it’s a first date or a long-term partnership, does not give the right to sex without consent.
SEX WITHOUT CONSENT, WHATEVER THE LENGTH OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP, IS RAPE.
It is important to remember:
- Consent to one sexual act does not imply consent to any other act.
- Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time. This can be before or during the conduct.
- If you’re in a sexual encounter with someone and they ask you to stop and you don’t, you’re committing a sexual offence.
When Can I have Sex or Participate in Sexual Activities
The legal age which someone can lawfully participate in sex is 16 years old.
It is a criminal offence for anyone who is 16 or older to have any kind of sexual contact with someone under the age of 16. This applies whether they are the initiating partner or the consenting partner.
How and When can Consent be Given
Consent can be given through many different actions. It is important not only to listen to their words but also to consider their body language. If someone initiates sex then that may be a sign of consent.
If someone is hesitating or not actively participating, then they may not be comfortable with what is happening. Always make sure your partner is comfortable, you can do this by asking things like “is this okay?” and “do you enjoy this?”.
If someone is unsure or if they say maybe, it does not mean ‘convince me’. You should not try to persuade them or make repeated attempts to have sexual contact. Consent cannot be given in various circumstances. The following is a non-exhaustive list:
- Where the victim is incapable of consenting because of the effect of alcohol or any other substance.
- Where the victim is asleep or unconscious.
- Where the victim agrees or submits to the conduct because of violence or threats of violence used against them, or any other person.
- Spiking (drink or injection)
Spiking is when someone is given alcohol or drugs without their consent. Spiking (drink or injection) is a crime. If you have been spiked, you should contact Police Scotland to report it. If you need support you can contact the Student Support & Advice team or AUSA Advice for a confidential conversation with a member of staff.
It is important to be aware of the effects of being spiked so that you can be mindful of your own safety, but also to be aware of the safety of other people. If you start to feel like you may have been spiked, or a friend starts behaving differently, then you can act quickly.
For more information and resources please visit Safer.scot.
How to know if your drink has been spiked?
Drink spiking occurs when a substance, is unknowingly added to your drink. These substances are sometimes referred to as the ‘date rape drug’, but also includes someone buying double measures instead of singles. The effects of these drugs can affect judgement and can incapacitate, putting the person at risk of serious crime. Everyone is at risk of drink spiking.
You may not be able to see, taste or smell if your drink has been spiked. The drugs may be colourless, odourless and may not even affect the taste of your drink. Most drugs that are used to spike drinks will take effect within 15-30 minutes and symptoms usually last for several hours. You may still feel some of the symptoms of a date rape drug after a night’s sleep.
Although symptoms will vary depending on the drug used, warning signs include:
- lowered inhibitions
- difficulty concentrating or speaking
- loss of balance and finding it hard to move
- visual problems, particularly blurred vision
- memory loss (amnesia) or "blackouts"
- feeling confused or disorientated, particularly after waking up (if you've been asleep)
- paranoia (a feeling of fear or distrust of others)
- hallucinations (seeing, hearing or touching things that aren't there) or having an "out of body" experience
- nausea and vomiting
What to do if you think your drink has been spiked
- If you start to feel strange or more drunk than you think you should be, get help immediately by telling a friend, bar or security staff. If you aren't with anyone, call someone you trust and get to a safe place as soon as you can.
- Ask to use a phone if yours has been stolen. Be wary of accepting help from a stranger and don't leave with someone you don't know. If you need urgent help, you should dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.
- Your doctor can test for the presence of traces of certain drugs through urine or blood tests within 24 hours.
- If you think that you have been assaulted, then you can also report this to the University through the Confidential Reporting System or contact Police Scotland.
Tips on trying to avoid drink spiking
Spiking is never your fault. However, there are things you can do to keep yourself safe and to look out for others when you are out or socialising with others:
- Don’t accept drinks from strangers or leave drinks unattended.
- Buy your own drinks and know what you’re really drinking.
- If someone offers to buy you a drink, go to the bar with them.
- Don’t drink something you didn’t open or see opened or poured; if you’re unsure about your drink, leave it. Don’t drink leftover drinks. “No minesweeping”
- Keep an eye on your friends. If someone collapses or is unconscious, call an ambulance immediately and stay with them until help arrives.
- If you’re on a date with someone you don’t know, arrange for a friend to call you during the evening and/or pick you up, and let someone know where you're going and what time you expect to be home. Meet in a public space. Arrange your own transport.
- If you are in a bar, and feel unsafe, vulnerable, or threatened can discreetly seek help by approaching venue staff and asking them for ‘Angela’. This code-phrase will indicate to staff that they require help with their situation and a trained member of staff will then look to support and assist them. This might be through reuniting them with a friend, seeing them to a taxi, or by calling venue security and/or the police.
- If you have no way of getting home, use the Safe Taxi Scheme by calling 01224 878787. Find more details on this on the AUSA website.
- Partying Safely
Always plan your nights out. Let your friends know where you are going, who you are meeting and how you plan to get home at the end of the night. This is especially important if you plan to meet new people.
Look after your handbags and valuables and don’t leave any drinks unattended. Leaving your drink unattended can increase the risk of it being altered or spiked with dangerous substances.
Mixing alcohol with drugs can have an unpredictable and cumulative effect which can result in overdose and potential fatality. Using illegal substance is not recommended and being caught in possession in the UK can result in a fine or imprisonment.
If you feel unsafe on a night out, go to the bar and Ask for Angela. The venue staff will know you need some help and call you a taxi or help you leave discreetly.
In an emergency order a Safe Taxi from Rainbow City Taxis. Use your student card as payment and pay for the journey through AUSA the next working day. T: +44 (0) 1224 878787
Nightline is a student run listening and information service run by students for students at the University of Aberdeen. This service is run overnight by AUSA volunteers between 8pm – 8am throughout the academic year. You can contact them over the phone, via email, or using the online IM (Instant Messaging) service. It is a confidential, non-judgemental and non-advisory service for all your problems and concerns. Whether you have a personal problem, stressful situation, or simply want to know where the nearest takeaway is, Nightline is here to help.
Call: 01224 272829
Listening email: email@example.com
The University has its own Security Team based at Old Aberdeen and Foresterhill Campuses. The team work 24/7 and there is a Security Control Room at 9a Dunbar Street. Security can assist with a wide variety of both emergency and non-emergency security and personal safety matters. Security Control also receive and return items of lost property, of which there are often many. Security can be contacted on 01224 273327 (non-emergency) or 01224 273939 (emergency) 24/7.
SafeZone is a free app that connects you to the University security team.
Use SafeZone for
- First aid assistance
- Help in an emergency
- Wellbeing Assistance
Check-in: If you’re working or studying late on campus, check-in to let the security team know
Anonymous tip reporting: If you spot something suspicious on campus, you can use SafeZone to send tips quickly and anonymously
Location: Your location can only be accessed when you check-in or need help
Wellbeing assistance is available at the touch of a button. You’ll find details of support and can talk confidentially to talk to a counsellor through our 24/7 Student Helpline or Employee Assistance Programme
Setting it up
- Download SafeZone through your app store
- Login with your University email and password
- Enable notifications for important updates
- Available on iOS and Android
- Bike Security
Using a bicycle is a great way to keep fit and an affordable way to travel across campus and the city. If using a bike on campus we recommend you secure your bike, using a robust D shaped rigid lock to one of the fixed bicycle racks on campus. These areas are generally well lit and many are covered by CCTV or are overlooked.
Online Safety and Security
The University has drawn up a set of guidelines to help remind us all of the importance of information security in every aspect of our daily work.
1. NEVER reveal your username and/or password – to anyone.Not even the Service Desk will ask you to reveal your password.
2. Passwords. Make them strong; keep them safe; never share them; and change them regularly.
- See our password reset service.
3. Always lock your device – or log off completely – whenever you leave it unattended for even a short period of time.
- It only takes a second or two for someone to access your files.
4. Always protect your user identity, at work and at home.
- Don’t share access to your device with strangers.
- Don’t store sensitive personal information, such as bank account numbers, on your device.
- See our fact sheet for tips on how to spot email phishing scams
5. Ensure your sensitive data is safe and suitably encrypted when mobile.
- It is mandatory that you encrypt any USB flash drive and/or other portable device that contains sensitive University data.
- See our guidance on how to encrypt your device (click on the Encryption tab above), or buy a pre-encrypted USB stick from the Service Desk.
6. Always use electronic communication with care.
- Don’t open emails or attachments from unknown sources
- Don’t reply to or forward emails from unknown sources
- See our fact sheet for guidance on dealing with Junk email
- See our fact sheet for tips on how to spot email phishing scams
7. Use anti-virus software and keep it up to date.
- The University of Aberdeen’s anti-virus solution for University owned and managed Windows and Mac computers is Microsoft System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP). Click on the Anti-virus software tab at the top of the page for more about SCEP.
- We are unable to offer anti-virus support for personal/home PCs, laptops, Macs and MacBooks. Please ensure your personal computer is protected from viruses and malware by running anti-virus software.
8. Be cautious when using the internet.
- Never download files from an unknown source.
9. Never cause offence or break the law when using University IT facilities.
- See our Conditions for using IT Facilities, and guidelines on Email Etiquette and E-Copyright (under review).
For help, advice, and to report ALL IT incidents, contact IT Services on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reporting a Crime and Support
If you need to report a crime call Police Scotland on 101 (or in an emergency 999).
You can also report a crime by visiting a local Police Station. The closest stations to our Old Aberdeen Campus are Tillydrone Police Station and Seaton Police Station. The closest stations to our Foresterhill Campus are Northfield Police Station and Rosemount Police Station. If you live the city centre the closest stations are North East Divisional Headquarters and Nelson Street Police Station.
You will always be treated with respect and dignity during any contact with the police.
- Confidential Online Reporting Tool
The University does not tolerate any form of discrimination and will not condone any acts of harassment, bullying, violence, or targeted hate. This includes all forms of gender-based violence and harassment; targeted abuse towards members of the LGBTQ+ community; racism or attacks against someone based on their ethnicity; and all hate towards any protected characteristic (such as age and religion). We are committed to providing safe and welcoming campuses for every member of our University community.
- Victim Support
Confidential, free support for victims and witnesses of crime. For support call 0800 160 1985, 8am-8pm, Monday-Friday or visit the website for more information.
- Support and Wellbeing
If you have been affected by crime or are worried about someone you know help and support is available.