As your child begins to spend more time away from you, it is important that they have some understanding of how to keep themselves safe.
It is vital for them to understand what a stranger is and the dangers that are linked to adults they do not know. It is also important to be aware of what is not appropriate behaviour from people they do know. From an early age have open discussions with your child about what to do if they are approached by a stranger or they are worried about the behaviour of somebody.
It is also important for your child to know who is a safe stranger. Have these discussions with your child so they understand what to do if they need help. Tell your child if someone scares them, they feel in danger or tries to touch them in ways that make them feel uncomfortable, to Yell, Run and Tell.
There are rules and laws for all organisations that look after children to reduce the risks of abusers being around children.
Talking To Your Child About Keeping Safe
‘Stranger Danger’ has been the way we have tried to warn children about risks from others. However in 90% cases of abuse, the person is known to the victim.
It is important that we do not make children feel scared of everyone. We need to talk to people we don’t know every day and your child should know most people do not hurt children. Remember - children do not really understand what a ‘stranger’ is and who is a risk – they might expect a stranger will look like a ‘baddie’.
A few ideas to discuss with your child;
Talk with your child about safer strangers;
Your child should know not to go off with anyone unexpectedly whether they are a stranger or they know them.
If your child does get lost they should try and stand still to give you time to find them. If they need to ask for help they should go to a parent with children, or a person on the till at the shops.
When Something Feels Wrong
Children need to know how to identify when someone is doing something wrong and what to do. Talk to your child about trusting their feelings;
As a parent or carer, it is your decision when you let your child go out alone. There is no law stating a specific age BUT we all want our children to feel as safe as possible. The NSPCC offer some questions you can ask yourself before you make up your mind.
Talk to your child and make rules together about keeping safe and what they would need to do in an emergency.
Child Exploitation is a danger to an increasing number of young people. We can all play a part in helping children and young people stay safe, and help them learn how to protect themselves from others. You can find out more by taking this new online training module. This short course will help you learn:
Once you’ve finished the module, why not take some time to think about the issues raised, or have a conversation with a child or young person you help to look after. You could also show them Tricky Friends to help start the conversation.
If you feel your child is at immediate risk of harm, or to report any suspicious incidents please call 999. The police will be able to support if required. Your child’s school may also be able to help you with talking to your child if needed.
If you cannot make voice calls, you can now contact the 999 emergency services by SMS text from your mobile phone. Emergency SMS is part of the standard 999 service which has been designed specifically for people with hearing loss or difficulty with speech.
You can contact a member of the 0-19 Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.
To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below.