SA – In light of the recent attempted kidnappings that have made headlines in South Africa, it is vital to take the necessary steps to protect your children.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS TO KEEP CHILD PREDATORS AT BAY
The first thing you need to do, is teach your children not to take anything from strangers. They should be taught not to approach unknown vehicles and always to be on the lookout in case of cars that might be following them.
They should never go anywhere with anyone they do not know or trust.
Youngsters should be vigilant and rather walk in a group or with an older child or adult for safety.
Create a place of safety where your children can go. If they ever feel unsafe in any situation – with a stranger or with someone they know – they should have safe zones they can go to – to tell someone trustworthy that they feel scared.
Teach them to yell and tell. They should also tell someone if anyone does anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Teach them that it is especially important to tell people who try to persuade them not to tell. If someone wants something to be “our little secret” then chances are they are doing or planning something bad.
Kids should know to trust their instincts – if something does not feel right, speak up! If they feel they are in danger, they should shout as loudly as they can to get the attention of bystanders.
Make sure that they know it is okay to say no!
Teach them from a young age what their name, surname, parent’s telephone number and address is.
Never leave your child alone in the car, not even for a few seconds. Also make sure all doors are locked while you are driving.
Listen to your child if they tell you about new people that they have met.
Establish strict procedures for when you have to pick them up from school or social gatherings.
Make sure you always know where your child is and who he or she is with at all times.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR CHILD GOES MISSING
Try not to panic.
Don’t wait 24 hours to report the child missing.
Do a quick check to see if your child is really missing by contacting friends, family, the school, and neighbours.
Get a responsible person to stay at your house and take messages if someone phones about the child while you go to the police station or go out searching.
Take a recent good quality photo of your child with you to the police station, this will help to easily identify your child.
Give a decent description of what your child was wearing, his/her last whereabouts and any other information to the police.
You will have to fill in a SAPS 55(A) form which safeguards the police against false or hoax reports and gives them permission to distribute your child’s photo and the information.
Make sure you get a reference number and the name and contact details of the officer assigned to the investigation.
If the child returns, you have to report to the police that the child is safe.