Girl, 11, dodges attack

AN 11-YEAR-OLD girl's run-in with a would-be attacker last month has prompted warnings from Grafton Public School and police for parents and students to remain vigilant.

The girl was riding her bike north along Queen St, Grafton, after school on Friday, March 25, when the man ran up behind her and yelled out: “Stop little girl”, before reaching out to grab her, police said.

Inspector Jo Reid said the girl managed to avoid being grabbed by the man and reached the safety of the Essential Energy (formerly Country Energy) building.

The man was described as 20-30 years of age, tall with blonde hair and wearing a white t-shirt.

“This incident remains a police investigation,” Insp Reid said. “I would encourage anyone who has had similar things happen or who have seen suspicious-looking characters around schools to contact police.”

Although it was an isolated incident, she said, with schools breaking up for holidays this week, it was a timely reminder that parents must educate their children in stranger danger.

“A child must never stop and talk to someone they don't know,” Insp Reid said.

“They should have a back-up place to go and parents should know where their kids are planning to be and when.”

Senior teachers at Grafton Public School issued warnings to pupils at assemblies last week and a notice was put in the school's newsletter by principal Will Randall.

The announcements centred around procedures to take if approached by a stranger, including the use of public places and trusting instincts that indicate danger.

Safety tips

  • Use the buddy system – avoid walking anywhere alone.
  • Trust your instincts – if you feel you are being followed or something is not right, seek help immediately.
  • If a stranger approaches you, you do not have to speak to him or her. Never approach a stranger in a motor vehicle. Just keep walking. Do not accept lollies or any other items from a stranger. Never walk off with a stranger no matter what he or she tells you.
  • If someone is following you, try to remember the license plate of his or her vehicle and immediately tell a trusted adult.
  • If a stranger grabs you, do everything you can to stop him or her from pulling you away or dragging you into his or her car. Drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite and scream. Do whatever it takes to attract the attention of others who can help you. If someone is dragging you away, scream, “this is not my dad” or “this is not my mum”.

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