It is always important that we take precautions to stay safe as Candidates and Campaigners at election time.
The risk to Lib Dem activists while out campaigning is of course extremely low. But it is easy to take some very simple steps to ensure you stay safe.
It is unfortunately becoming more common that candidates receive abuse online. Again there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself.
Whether online, or on the doorsteps, there is a lot of support and advice available to help you look after yourself.
Safety while out Campaigning
Try to stick to these simple rules while campaigning:
- Do not canvass alone.
- Always make sure you exchange mobile numbers with your canvassing / delivery group.
- If breaking off from your team make sure they know where what street you are heading to.
- Don’t go inside peoples homes.
- Don’t leave anyone behind.
- Make sure your phone battery is fully charged.
A handy card from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust about staying safe on the doorstep can be downloaded here.
Social media can often be a very unpleasant place. Women in particular can become the target of offensive and unpleasant comments. There are some simple ways you can look after yourself on Social Media:
- Separate your ‘personal’ and ‘political’ accounts – keep your personal pages private.
- Don’t pass on any unnecessary personal details.
- Avoid getting into arguments, or escalating any negative comments. Answer questions politely but don’t get drawn into long arguments that don’t go anywhere.
- Don’t be afraid to block if someone is harassing you online, or attacking your personally.
- If a threat is made of any nature – make sure you report it.
- Support your colleagues on social media. If someone is being criticised make sure you have their back.
Remember that social media should only be a small part of your campaigning. It doesn’t have anywhere near the effectiveness of canvassing and leafletting. But it has the potential to take up a lot of your time. Try to set strict time limits and don’t let social media distract you from more important campaigning you need to do.
Dealing with Threats
Any threat – whether in person or online – you receive as a candidate should be reported immediately to the Police.
Record any incidents that happen. Having a log of ongoing issues is important when reporting harassment and bullying.
A useful advice sheet from the Electoral Commission can be found here
Getting support from the Party
The party has a pastoral care team who can be on hand to help support you through any problems you are having. You can find more information on internal Lib Dem pastoral care support here.
ALDC members can also call our support line that is open Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 5pm – 0161 302 7532.
Finally remember that being a Candidate or Campaigner is great fun – and you should enjoy it. It is highly unlikely that you will be the victim of abuse or trolling, or ever be in physical danger, but by taking some simple precautions you can help make yourself to stay safe while campaigning.
Perplexing that there is nothing here at all about Covid-19. Still in early Spring 2022 it is a definite risk. We should all wear masks for canvassing and deliveries, surely ? And because of the continuing need to distance, we need a line of guidance about people not shouting to each other across a street to agree "where next", since this can be intrusive if too loud ?