Child safety has become a hot topic. It’s unfortunately become increasingly common to hear stories of children becoming victims of crime. So in response to this, Captain Louise Le Roux from the Brighton Beach SAP in Durban released several tips and suggestions for parents and guardians to ensure that children stay alert and crime savvy.
-Parents must, together with the SAP and educational institutes, ensure the safety of their children, said Le Roux.
This may include simple tasks that parents and guardians may have overlooked such as ensuring that all current information is updated on school records.
-The school and police may have difficulty in tracing parents in cases of emergency as cell phone numbers, work contact details as well as home and work addresses are outdated, she said. Le Roux also stressed the importance of children entering the school grounds immediately after being dropped off at school, and not loitering outside the grounds, in the street or at shopping complexes. -It is safer inside the school grounds, she explained.
-The same applies when waiting for transport home. If your child walks too and from school, make arrangements with other parents for the children to walk in a group,” said Le Roux. “It is safer to walk in a group.
Another tip Le Roux suggested was that children not be allowed to take their cell phones to school and that parents utlilise electronic banking methods to deposit school fees or funds. This, Le Roux said, would prevent children from walking the streets with large quantities of cash or valuable items such as their cellphones.
-Children are walking in the street texting, chatting and listening to music on their mobile phones, thus exposing themselves to being robbed, she said. -Criminals use knifes and fire-arms to rob you.”
Le Roux added that 13 out of 14 schools on the Bluff in Durban had implemented a no cell phone policy.
According to Le Roux, when facilitating safety tips amongst children recently, there were several aspects that were a cause for concern. For instance, many children knew where the ‘safe places’ for their parents’ firearms were. -Also, children are receiving ‘little sips’ of alcohol from their parents and, often, parents make their children purchase cigarettes for them, she said.
Le Roux said it was also a concern to note how many parents did not make the necessary transport arrangements for their children in the afternoon after attending school or sporting activities. “By not ensuring transport arrangements, your child could become a victim of crimes such as robbery, assault or abduction,” she said.
When going to public facilities such as shopping malls or even on holiday, Le Roux said parents should adhere to specific measures.
-Ensure that you have a current photo of each family member with you, she said. -This will help police in case your child gets lost at a public place or has been abducted.
Le Roux also advised that, when leaving home, take note of the clothing your child is wearing. -Don’t let your child visit public toilet facilities without adult supervision, she said.
-And encourage your child not to talk to strangers or to take free novelties from strangers.
Le Roux added that parents should not let children stray in a public place or cross a road or busy intersection without adult supervision. -Also, do not give your personal information to strangers, she said. -And if approached by a police officer and requested to accompany him or her, ask to see her or her identification, she said.
Children were also warned not to talk to strangers but to run away and alert an adult instead. “Children have the perception that only men are strangers,” said Le Roux. “An emphasis is placed on children to be aware that women who are not known to them are also strangers and that both men and women can steal children.”
Know their rights
Le Roux explained that it was also important for children to be empowered by knowing their rights and responsibilities. These she listed as follows:
- The right to an education. -This comes with the responsibility to attend school, do homework, respect the educators and not to damage school property, said Le Roux.
- The right to health care. -This comes with the responsibility not to consume alcohol, smoke and use banned substances, said Le Roux. -And not to participate in underage, unprotected sexual activities.
- The right to live in a crime free environment. -This comes with the responsibility of not participating in criminal activities and to report people who do participate in criminal activities in an educational institute, said Le Roux.
- The right to a loving and caring family and safe home. -This comes with the responsibility of accepting the rules out in place by your parents and caregivers, said Le Roux. -Help to keep your home clean by doing chores and make sure that you adhere to safety measures put in place at your house.