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Staying Safe Around Others

Staying Safe Around Other People

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.

Read NSPCC’s guidance on keeping children safe

Dive Deeper

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;

  • A stranger can be someone we don’t know or someone we don’t know very well.
  • When meeting new people we cannot decide who is kind just by looking at them.
  • Explain to your child that even if a stranger tells them not to, they must always tell a grown-up they trust if someone they don't know talks to them or they feel worried.

Safer Strangers

Talk with your child about safer strangers;

  • Safer strangers could be people in uniforms such as police officers, supermarket workers, or teachers. 
  • If you child is worried or frightened they could look for a safe building, such as a shop, the library, a bank, a doctors surgery or a sports centre and ask for help.

Your child should know not to go off with anyone unexpectedly whether they are a stranger or they know them.

  • Talk to your child about the people you would send for them if they needed picking up in an emergency.
  • Give them and your child a ‘secret password’ that you would use if you sent them.
  • Tell them to shout really loudly for help if someone tried to take them.
  • Teach your child your mobile number.

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;

  • They should get away from people who make them scared. Tell them to run straight to you or to a busy place if you are not there.
  • If someone says or does things that make them feel worried, scared, or hurts them they should tell a grown up. If that grown up does not help them they should tell another grown up.
  • They should know to do this even if they like or love the person.
  • They should know to tell even if the person has told them they must keep the secret/promised a special treat.

 

Older Children

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.

  • Where and when do they want to go?
  • What do they want to do there?
  • Who's going to be with them?
  • How far away are they going?
  • What time will they be back?
  • How can I get hold of them if I need to?

Talk to your child and make rules together about keeping safe and what they would need to do in an emergency.

Who can Help?

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.

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.

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