"The best way to stay safe is to be aware of your surroundings.”
That is the advice of martial arts guru Lee Trunks, who set up self defence classes for women last year.
Police last week launched an investigation after reports of a serious sexual assault in St Mary’s churchyard, Cheltenham, last Wednesday evening.
And last week, a 17-year-old Coleford boy admitted to attacking a young woman in Gloucester Park last summer.
Lee has spent the last year holding two-hour long sessions detailing ways women can take care of themselves when they are feeling threatened.
He said: “It has been really well received, and quite a few people have turned up for the classes. I think it is important people think about how to protect themselves.
“Besides martial arts, we also teach them to become more alert to their surroundings. A lot of times, people might be on their mobile phones and listening to music and they are not in tune with what is going on around them.”
The classes are held adhoc and are taught be Lee at his school, the Combined Defensive Arts academy.
Based in Lansdown Industrial Estate, the classes teaches the basics of self defence. If students become more interested in classes, they can take up an extended programme of another three classes.
“I think people need to recognise the dangers of maybe going out alone at night or not being aware of their surroundings,” he said.
“It must be a horrifying experience for anybody to be attacked, and the classes can teach people to protect themselves.
“It is important that people are not in harm’s way. Staying away from dark places, or taking more time to use a safer, less dangerous route are some of the things we advocate on the course.”
And if victims of crime need someone to talk to, they can turn to Victim Support, which has an office in Eastgate Street, Gloucester.
Wayne Stevens, division manager at Victim Support Gloucester, said: “We provide a free confidential service to all victims of crime, including sexual assaults. We are a listening ear and can give advice as well. To contact Victim Support, call 0845 456 6099.