We see in the media that child abduction is on the rise. As many as 1,2 million children are being trafficked every year. Many of these children are forced into cheap labour or sexual exploitation. As the holiday is approaching it is critical to make your children aware of what they should do in various situations. Parents must take the time to prepare children, this could save your child’s life.
Know personal details
Children must know their full name, age, their home telephone number and address. This is critical information when a child is gets lost.
Know contact details
Children must know how to contact their parents, the SAPS or another close relative in an emergency. Make sure they know emergency numbers by heart.
If your children are alone at home, and receive calls, they should always act as if the parents are there. Teach your child to tell callers that you can’t come to the phone, and that you will call them back later. Children should identify visitors before opening doors. If the visitor is a stranger they should tell them that their parents are busy and they should go away and come back later. If the stranger doesn’t go away or if your child feels threatened in any way, your child should call an emergency contact immediately.
Never walk alone
If it is at all possible, children should play and walk with other children.
No gifts from strangers
Children should always ask your permission before accepting gifts from strangers. As a parent it is your responsibility to know why your child is receiving gifts, especially if it happens regularly. Sexual predators often use gifts to establish an emotional connection with a child, to lower the child’s inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse.
If your child is playing outside alone and a stranger approaches them, they should either run home, or to a neighbours house, or the nearest public space. They must always avoid situations where strangers have a chance to approach them alone.
Adults don’t ask children for help
Children must know that adults, especially strangers, rarely ask children for help in finding things or for directions. Explain to your child that men and women are strangers. If strangers approach them with a question they must run to you immediately.
Who to ask for help
Your child must know that if he or she gets separated from you in a store or shopping mall, they must immediately go to a store employee, security or cashier for help.
Know their friends
You as parent must know where your children are at all times. Know their friends and be clear with them about the places and homes they may visit. Explain concerns you might have with some homes or areas.
Listen to your children
LISTEN to your children. Pay attention when they tell you they do not want to be with someone or go somewhere. Always believe your child unless you can with out a doubt believe otherwise.
Children are allowed to say NO
Teach your children that they are allowed to say NO to other people, including adults, teachers and family. No one may touch them in a unwelcome way and no one may make them feel uncomfortable. If this happens they should leave immediately. If they cannot leave teach your child to kick, scream and resist by yelling loudly “This person is not my family!”.
Behavioural or mood changes.
Be sensitive to any changes in your children’s behaviour or attitude. Encourage open communication and learn how to be an active listener. If your children tell you about problems, try to stay calm, be reassuring, and non-judgemental. Work with them to get help to resolve the problem. Contact your nearest social services office for advice and guidance.
Practise basic safety skills.
Make an outing to a mall or park an educational experience in which your children. Let them check in with you, teach them to go to the bathroom with a friend. Let them identify adults who may be able to help if they need assistance. Never let your children wear clothing or carry items that bear their names in public. It makes it too easy for a stranger to approach them.
Develop code words for anyone you trust to fetch your children and teach your children the words. Tell them not to go with anyone who does not know the secret code.
Statistics found on: http://missingchildren.org.za
More tips and advice kan be founds on: https://www.saps.gov.za/child_safety/youth/youth.php
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