How can I stay safe?

How to be part of a group?

Your group of friends is an example of a group, but there are others:

  • your class at school;
  • your school clubs (the Maths Club, the Sciences Club…);
  • associations;
  • sports clubs;
  • de uma claque de futebol;
  • we shouldn't forget the gangs/violent groups of young people. To know more about this, see Gangs and group violence.


Being part of a group gives us plenty of benefits:

  • it makes us feel protected, safe and supported;
  • it allows us to live and share experiences with others, from significant moments to simple daily activities;
  • it allows us to be with people we like and who mean something to us;
  • it strengthens friendships;
  • it provides well-being and comfort.

segurança em grupo

Being part of a group also poses many challenges:

  • to be able to listen to others and pay attention to what they say;
  • to deal with opinions different from ours;
  • to be able to defend our opinions without hurting others or disrespecting their opinions;
  • to accept that we are not always right in relation to different issues;
  • to resolve conflicts and disagreements;
  • to say “no”;
  • to give in.


Sometimes, because we are in a group, we do things we probably wouldn't do if we were alone, many of them wrong:
  • because we want to please the group we belong to;
  • because the group persuaded or pressured us, putting our opinions and beliefs in the background; (To know more, see How to resist peer pressure?);
  • because it's exciting and risky;
  • because at the time it sounded like a good idea;
  • because we hadn't thought through the consequences of doing something wrong.
  • Separador

    It is important to understand if belonging to a group brings us benefits or if it undermines us, making us feel bad or putting us in risky and dangerous situations (for both ourselves and others).

    It is dangerous when:

    • you and your group get involved in risky behaviours such as consuming alcohol or drugs;
    • you and your group get involved in fights with rival groups;
    • you and your group are physically or verbally aggressive to other young people as ‘a joke';
    • you and your group resort to violence to achieve something illegally (for example, to steal a mobile or a mp3);
    • you and your group skip classes to spend more time together in the street or other public spaces such as the cafe, the pub or the shopping centre.

    These types of dangerous situations are very common when you are part of a gang or a violent group. To know more see Gangs and group violence.