More than 500 women have joined to an innovative message group to help them walk home late at night in Bournemouth.
This follows concerns that women walking home alone are vulnerable and in danger of being attacked.
According to Plan International, almost two thirds of adult women (63%) in Britain say they feel unsafe walking alone after dark.
Laura Schult, creator of the group chat, said: “I sometimes feel conscious as soon as it gets dark, even at 4pm.
“So, I put out a message onto Overheard Bournemouth (a Facebook group for the Bournemouth public) asking if people thought that was something they might like to be a part of.
“I got a huge response, so I had to make a second group chat to accommodate the amount of people wanting to be safe and help make others feel safe!”
The two group chats consist of over 500 women who can change their names to include which area of Bournemouth they live in. 20-year-old Becca Heath, a member of the group, said: “When I first got added into the group, I didn’t quite understand it.
“I thought it would get annoying, but actually it became a bit of a safe place, especially in the dark evenings walking home from uni or walking to friends’ houses.
“It was just reassuring to know it was there for me if I ever needed it.”
However, PCSO Adam Cleaver of Dorset Police said: “I would highly recommend that these females did not allow themselves to get into this situation in the first place.
“As you know persons walking home alone are at higher risk than those in a group, and this combined with alcohol also increases the risk significantly.
“With regards to a Facebook Group Chat, we would say anything that helps to make people safer is a good idea.”
When asked for any tips on keeping safe when walking home, PCSO Cleaver suggested: “Always staying with a friend, staying in well-lit busy areas, taking public transport, bus or taxi, ensuring you have money at the end of an evening to get home, not to go home with strangers or people you’ve only just met are all much better ways of staying safe.”
If you ever believe you are in danger when walking home, call 999.