Parents asked to teach kids after spate of child approaches
PARENTS must make sure their children have a clear idea of what to do if they're approached by a stranger when away from the family.
Coffs Clarence crime manager Detective Inspector Darren Jameson said a spate of child approaches in recent times, including one in Yamba at the weekend and another at South Grafton last week, reinforced the need for vigilance.
Inspector Jameson said a 44-year-old man was arrested in Coffs Harbour on Sunday, but said investigations had ruled out a link to other incidents.
He said police experience of these matters showed about 70% of reports of children being approached were not real and of the 30% that were investigated some were discounted.
Despite the figures, Det Insp Jameson said police prefer people to report suspicious incidents.
"Any report of a child approach is a serious matter," he said.
"We take each report seriously and assess individual cases on their merits."
He said the most important things parents can do is to make sure children knew the basic techniques of what to do if they were approached by a stranger.
"It used to be to yell 'Fire, fire, fire'. Now children are taught to yell loudly 'Go away, I don't know you' as loud as they can so people nearby know the child is in trouble" he said.
"Parents should teach their children safe places to go if they're worried about someone trying to talk to them or approach them."
- Make sure your parents or another adult you know knows where you are at all times.
- Always walk straight home or to the place you are walking to. Walk near busier roads and streets or use paths where there are lots of other people.
- Know where safe places are - a shop, service station, police station, library or school. If you are ever frightened, you should go to one of these places and ask them to call the police.
- Learn about safe adults you can look for and talk to if you need help - police officers, teachers at school, adults you know and trust.
- Don't talk to people you don't know and never get into a car with someone you don't know. If a car stops on the side of the road and you don't know the person inside, do not stop.
- If you are scared and can use a phone, phone 000 and tell them you are scared.
- If someone tries to grab you, yell out, 'Go away, I don't know you'. This lets other people know you have been approached by someone you don't know