We all want our kids to be happy and safe and for most children that’s what happens. Sadly, though for some their childhood will be blighted by abuse or an assault.
The vast majority of abuse is perpetrated by a person known to the child. The NSPCC has a campaign on how to discuss keeping children safe from this kind of abuse.
With official disclosure or criminal record checks, there are more protections against those convicted of offences against children.
Smaller companies and individuals can apply for a criminal record check, via companies such as http://www.carecheck.co.uk/criminal-record-checks-for-individuals/.
However, there is still a small, but worrying risk that a child could be in danger from strangers and this is something you should discuss with them.
Children have a misperception that a stranger is a scary looking person, like a baddy from TV. Children need to know you can’t judge who to trust by looks alone. It’s also important that children understand there are some strangers they can approach if they need to.
Uniformed authority such as police officers, or firemen are adults scared children could approach. Teachers or librarians are again people who are obviously identified or a mum with children. They might even ask for help in a busy shop. The most important thing to emphasise is that children go into a public space or area to ask for help where there are many people.
You might also point out the houses of people you know they could ask for help. An older child who has a phone should also be aware how to call for help if they feel threatened.
How to stay safe
Another important lesson you need to teach is to be wary of possible dangers. Avoiding playing out alone especially after dark, and stay in a group when out.
Children should be aware of what adults shouldn’t do. No adult should ask a child to disobey their parents, or do something without permission. They shouldn’t ask a child for help, to keep a secret or make a child feel uncomfortable.
The “no, go, yell, tell” tactic is great to teach children. If the child feels threatened they say no, run away, yell as loudly as they can and tell a trusted adult or parent as soon as possible.