A safecall is an arrangement that you make to check in with a trustworthy person when you’re meeting with an acquaintance or someone new with whom you haven’t yet developed trust. Your trustworthy person should know where you’re going to be (specific addresses), who you’re going to be with (real names), and what time(s) you will be checking in. If you don’t check in, they’ll assume something has gone wrong and will contact the local authorities.
As an additional measure, Best Practices indicates a silent alarm should be included.
For example, you could agree with your safe call partner beforehand that “Dinner seems to be going great” means “‘I’m seriously afraid for my safety” and that “No, I didn't get the dishes done” means “all clear”. In this fashion you can use common, everyday words to indicate that you are distressed or fine without alerting your date, which is especially important if you are in distress.
Safe Calls are a personal safety measure, but are criticized for creating a false sense of security as in the case something truly horrible occurs, authorities will not likely arrive in a timely fashion, and thus the call does not serve to keep you safe. This view is criticized because having authorities arrive later is considered better than not at all.
The following recommendations will not work in all circumstances, but consider using them as a template to help keep your meetings safe.
- Always ensure an exit strategy is in place in case things become non consensual. Be sure to assertively communicate your boundaries, if you can't, you probably aren't ready for BDSM.
- Give the following to your safe call partner: Your full name, Your home address and phone number, Make, model, color, and license plate number of your car if you are driving yourself, or Detailed information (flight numbers and times, rental car information, etc.) if you are using other transportation. Also provide them with where you are meeting, the name of place you are meeting, the address of the meeting place, including applicable room or apartment numbers and phone number (if you do not have it ahead of time, give it during first phone call or text), when you are meeting - time and date, the phone number for the local Police Department in the town you are visiting.
- Ask for references. See if the person you are meeting has anyone that will vouch for them, especially someone you might mutually know.
- Do not agree to sex or play before meeting.
- Obtain a copy of the person you are meeting's photo ID and license plate number before scheduling a meeting, this can be achieved easily with most cell phones. Give this information to your safe call. If you don't get the person you are meeting's pertinent data contained on the photo ID and license plate, at least give your safe call the name, age, description, any photos and other information you might have about the person you are meeting.
- Meet a potential new partner during the day in a public area where lots of by-standards will be, such as a coffee shop. Meeting someone in a private space decreases your safety in case something goes wrong.
- Arrive early at your public location such as at a coffee shop and inform the waitstaff that the person you are meeting is not your significant other and that if you become unresponsive they are not to let you leave with them, and instead must call for emergency help. Be sure to leave a good tip if they are happy to help!
- Never leave something you intend to ingest unattended. Eat your fill before retiring to the bathroom or otherwise removing your eyes from your meal and drink as this opens an opportunity for a predator to drug these items.
- Keep an eye out for a large number of red flags. One red flag on your list may be alright, but a consecutive series of them showing up in a short amount of time on your first meeting likely means you have met someone that doesn't meet your specific criteria for a partner and that makes you uncomfortable, trust your instincts.
- Never change location without informing your safe call, to include walking to your car in a dark parking lot. Avoid changing location entirely. When you must change location, inform your safe call of the new location you are setting out to and when you expect to arrive, then also report when you have safely arrived. You may want to include a silent alarm in this step.
- Keep in regular texting communication with your safe call when reasonably possible and not rude to your date.
- Try and have fun meeting someone new, not everyone you will meet is a predator out to cause harm. If your potential partner is a well balanced individual, chances are in most cases they won't have much difficulty indulging your minor requests to help put you at ease about your first meeting.
There is currently software that helps assist with safecalls such as Kitestring which is a phone app that states "are you going out for a walk at night by yourself? Tell us when you expect to be back. If you're not back by that time, we'll send you a text telling you we're going to text your emergency contacts. If you don't reply to that text, we'll text your emergency contacts.".