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Thread: Self defense for a women's office?

  1. #1

    Self defense for a women's office?

    I have a thought exercise for us that I hope will prove beneficial for my wife and her business partners. My wife is a part owner in a counseling group practice. This consists of 1-4 female counselors working out of basically a strip mall. My wife has her own office, but it is also shared by others after hours or on weekends. This can equate to her (or other young females) being alone with their client (think larger male) in a room and sometimes being the only two people in the office. For the first time in a long time, my wife has become concerned about her safety. My wife is currently 32 weeks pregnant, and not yet comfortable with guns. I have tried to get her to train with me, but before recently she didn't feel much of a need to. Now that she is big and pregnant, live firearms training is out the window. She is not opposed to training to the point of comfort but this won't be possible for some time.

    I come to ask those with more experience on ways to help keep her and the other ladies in her business safe until she feels ready to carry a gun full time. In the near term she's mentioned a taser or pepper spray, but I warned her about the use of pepper spray in an enclosed office (think medium size Dr. office). I also am concerned with the effectiveness of a taser in the same setting. The part that makes this difficult is that it's a shared office space, so I don't see a safe way to hide a gun where it would be accessible in the amount of time she might have if attacked. I initially thought about somehow modifying her chair, but I don't see how to keep it safe, but accessible (the same goes for pepper spray or even a taser).
    With all of that said, what ideas can I present to her to help keep her safe and help her feel more comfortable in her office.

    Any input will be appreciated and discussed with her.

  2. #2
    Unreconstructed Moylan's Avatar
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    Congrats on the baby! My first thought is that at least some of her very legitimate concerns could be addressed by better scheduling. Why is there just one female counselor alone in the office with clients?
    O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason.

  3. #3
    Wearable “panic buttons” to summon help?

    At a former job we had them for working alone in the machine shop after hours. You could call for help if you couldn’t dial or get to a phone.

  4. #4
    Physical security and a loud panic alarm that also alerts the police to go along with better scheduling Moylan already mentioned would be a bare minimum start. If she doesn't want or cannot use a firearm pepper spray and a real TASER, not stun gun would be the next best choices. Even if she is affected by pepper spray the attacker would be also and be less able to continue any assault even if he chose to instead of fleeing. Having a paring knife for food prep is not uncommon in office setting so would draw minimal attention but also could be accessed by an attacker. If she can find a place to place defensive tool out of sight like under her desk where her legs go on a magnetic/adhesive/velcro or similar mount or the same for under her chair or on the back side of the back of it might work. Lastly a medium size dry chemical fire extinguisher could be used both the block/blind attacker vision, obstruct their breathing fully and as bludgeon type tool once fully used up. These can be hung on a hook near the desk or placed on the floor near her feet for access. Pepper spray in a pocket and then access it if things start to feel off could also work. A firearm is the best equalizer for someone who is smaller less physically capable but it may not be possible. I would seriously make sure it isn't before the other choices minus the security and fire extinguisher.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Moylan View Post
    Congrats on the baby! My first thought is that at least some of her very legitimate concerns could be addressed by better scheduling. Why is there just one female counselor alone in the office with clients?
    This is mostly a side effect of starting a new business. She is working to bring on additional staff, but it takes time to choose the right people and fill out schedules. In addition, she's mostly there during normal business hours with other counselors (1-2 currently), but her staff will be using offices after hours and on the weekends for those who want to work part time or allow new clinicians to build their own individual case loads. Even the counselors that are there "full time" aren't always there because they set their own schedules and is dependent on client availability. So, some days the building might be packed, and the next day she might end up alone for 1/2 of the day.

    The only way for her business to make money is to have someone seeing clients, the easiest way to bring in more money is to allow staff to work evenings or on the weekends. I'm hopeful that all of this will improve by the time she returns from maternity leave, but just in case it doesn't, I want to have a plan or at least some options moving forward.

  6. #6
    Site Supporter Totem Polar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moylan View Post
    Congrats on the baby! My first thought is that at least some of her very legitimate concerns could be addressed by better scheduling. Why is there just one female counselor alone in the office with clients?
    This. Change the scenario to reduce risk. 100% of the encounters avoided, and all that.

    Beyond that, and more generalized, I think that Craig Douglas/Southnarc has a grip on the minimalist approach with his eye jab and knife jab curriculum. JMO
    ”PF shines like a diamond in the goat's ass of the Internet.”
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  7. #7
    For the present, would it bust the bank to hire a big old high school student to watch the office while the clinicians work?

    I would imagine that the clinicians don't want the barrier of a desk between them and the client, so a lot of the desk concealment/availability options are of the table so to speak.

    I would suggest looking at the counseling set-up in terms of furniture and seating in order to determine accessible concealment locations for tasers, oc's, firearms, etc.

    I also imagine it might be difficult to turn the clinicians from helpers to the mindset that they may have to severely injure/kill a client to protect themselves. They need a mindset that will enable them to react quickly enough and hard enough to actually protect themselves.

    I showed my daughters where to 'poke' with pencils and pens and keys (a good solid old style bic pen, or a substantial retractable). A 3-D target is good for this, as is a cardboard target with a face pasted on it that has a card board box attached to the back with a tee-shirt over it all. One daughter was meh, but the other practiced quite a bit.

    A mini fire-extinguisher could also be a considered in lieu of OC. If she does decide to use OC, she needs to get training, and burn up a couple of inerts practicing.

    JM $.02
    Adding nothing to the conversation since 2015....

  8. #8
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    Those are issues a lot of clinicians face. In fact, physical altercations with prior clients is why I didn’t go for a clinical cert when I got my psych degree.

    Friends of mine carry small, very concealable guns in clinics. Dry fire familiarity and deep on-body concealment of very concealable guns would likely work in the short term.

  9. #9
    Interesting and tough exercise. The business is trying to make money, so the schedule adjustment may not be an option presently. If it is in the future, do it.
    For the present, a panic button arrangement with a loud siren or horn outside with a cell link to LE. Pretty sure commercial system would fill the bill, but it’s an expense.
    It comes down to individuals taking some responsibility for themselves. My experience with the helping/healing folks is that most will hesitate to take drastic action, e.g., carry/present/shoot a firearm. So, the OC and fire extinguisher are good, but the response should be practiced.
    One other alternative is a blade on the person, or a blade/ice pick taped under a desk, chair, etc. Most people will be even more reluctant to slash or perforate.
    Last thought for the moment is if she or the other counselors have a bad feeling about a session, you could be around for that particular time.
    Best of luck with it and your growing family.

  10. #10
    Member
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    She (or anybody for that matter) can do a LOT of familiarization sitting in a recliner with her feet up.
    Holster, gun, mags or speedloaders and snap caps.
    You can try, and whittle down suitable holsters that way since her work is in a sitting position.

    Draw, dry fire, reloads, malf clearing, all those things can become second nature before ever setting foot on a range.

    No fear of a ND, and solid gun handling confidence when transitioning to live ammo.

    Are the gel type pepper sprays less aerosol like in a small room? I have no idea.

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