When scientists engage in public advocacy, or indeed in any public comment on controversial issues, there is a risk they will come under attack. To reduce the possibility of reprisals, it is worthwhile preparing, in several ways, including learning from the experience of others and making mild comments to see the reaction. If there is a serious risk, reducing expenditures and transferring assets can provide extra financial security. Building networks for personal support is crucially important, including family and friends, work colleagues and various others. When coming under attack, it is important to document actions, seek advice and behave sensibly. The most powerful counter to attacks is mobilisation of support. It is important to support scientists who come under attack, as this protects scientific freedom for all.