A community cat caregiver mentioned to me yesterday she had been molested over the weekend. She was very brave about it and went to make a police report (which seemed to involve her going to two different stations for some strange reason but that's another story). She also told the culprit off - the interesting thing was that she was quite near a void deck with people around. However it did bring to mind the fact that many caregivers do feed in quiet areas and on occasions can be in dangerous situations. Also quite a few caregivers are women which makes them especially vulnerable.
There was a good article written by one of the caregivers giving safety tips in our newsletter last year, but in general here are some things you can try and do :-
1. Carry a mobile phone with you if you have one - if you have one with a camera phone even better, in case you need to snap a photo of someone;
2. Don't be afraid to yell for help - make a lot of noise. Some people try and take advantage of the fact that you're shocked and taken by surprise to accost you. If you yell or threaten to make a fuss (as this caregiver did), the person is likely to turn and run. Of course each situation is different, so do be aware and alert to the person's body language and what they are saying.
3. Try and feed in areas which are not too dark - while it may be hard to feed in an entirely well lit area it may be better to feed someone which isn't entirely dark - ie not down a dark alley. Be aware of your surroundings.
4. Don't be afraid to call the police - if you are molested or assaulted, call the police. Do not attempt to detain the person if you think they are going to be violent.
5. Carry a personal alarm.
6. Where possible, feed in pairs.