- Family and Parenting
How To Protect Children and Child Safety Guidance
So many children go missing without a trace. Child trafficking is rampant and child sex slaves and pornography big business. Protecting children is now more essential than ever. How cute is this little one sitting alone in a park, probably with watching parents nearby, but she is a target for predators.
Nearby is an underpass and the seat is a good hiding spot for a predator. So is she at risk? Without knowing the circumstances it is impossible to say.
She is, in fact, a model for the photo so there is at least the photographer looking after her, Unfortunately, however, so many children are alone in this type of situation and they are extremely vulnerable. But do they know it? Do they know anything about stranger danger, bad men, kidnapping or any other issue they may have to face?
Children are like butterflies, here one minute gone the next. So how do you keep track of your little one?
How Brave They Were
The Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, was possibly the last place one would consider unsafe as twenty little children left for school on the morning of December 14th, 2012. Nor did their principal or five other adult women consider it but when gun shots rang out she was the first shot dead. Soon after 26 lives had been taken and the world is reeling in shock. If one wanted to make sure he made the biggest splash when he left this world by his own hand then the killer of these people succeeded.
All the recriminations in the world will not alter that fact. The visions that emergency services men and women and police had to see will never leave their minds and the relatives of the victims will cry for years to come. The pain will never go away.
Out of the tragedy, however, came some stories of hope like the little boy who ran when he heard the shooting instead of freezing up. He rushed past the gunman and out into the yard beyond. His life was saved because he had been instructed by his mother to do that if a gunman came to their school. So was that of the little girl who pretended she was dead and who lay without movement until the shooting was over. The lives of children pushed into a cupboard and told to keep quiet were also spared while the teacher herself was killed.
These are examples of strategies that save lives and they should be taught and rehearsed. Now the authorities are working at putting guns into all schools and that is not a solution. Prevention is better than a cure and who will grab a gun and pull the trigger on someone when this happens? The Principal was the first shot and she did what any person would have done, she went to see what was going on. Would she or could she have had the presence of mind to grab a gun and would she or could she have shot the man?
The security at the school was inadequate and no one had any training about dealing with such a situation. That is the first place to start. Schools need safe places in which to hide and bullet proof cupboards and doors. If the President can drive around in bullet proof cars and be protected behind bullet proof glass then so should the young and not so young in schools, hospitals and elsewhere,
There is an adage that if you live by the gun you will die by the gun and so America has to come to terms with new gun laws to take weapons out of the hands of crazed individuals. There are many important things to think about if one is to keep one's child and the neighborhoods in which we live safe from harm.
In the wake of so many massacres in schools, universities, shopping centers, cinemas and even churches it is time to reconsider the things that are not working and change them.
Children at Risk
Children can easily be isolated from a group
An incident that happened when I was around 5 or 6 years old was horrible and shows how vulnerable children are. My sister and I were playing in the street immediately in front of the house along with some neighbors children. It was a peaceful street and everyone knew each other.
A man approached us whom we recognized as a neighbor from the end of the street who had a somewhat bad reputation. He told my sister, three years older than me, that there was a coin in the gutter a little way up the street and that if she went with him he would lead her to it.
Something inside me told me to get help and I ran screaming as loud as I could up the side passage and was met by my distressed father who ran out to see what the matter could be. I gasped "there is a man trying to take B___ away. He caught the man and screwed him to the fence while holding him by the neck. We never had any trouble from him again but what would have happened if she was alone there and if I did not run for help?
Children must have better protection but we can't stop them from playing with other children or prevent them wandering into dangerous situations all the time.
There simply is nowhere safe for them any more.
In examining this situation from an adult's viewpoint there are several things that stand out.
1. We were in front of our house just a few meters from our parents who were inside.
2. He was a neighbor who lived just a few houses away.
3. We were not alone.
4. He tried to lure my sister away with a promise of money.
5. I was able to scream my head off and run for help
6. My sister was tempted to go with him
7. The other children ran off because they were frightened
8. The man in question had a mental problem associated with alcohol
9. The street was otherwise deserted
10. Our parents allowed us to play outside unsupervised.
This happens in every neighborhood all over the world and as pedophilia grows in intensity so do the dangers to children.
Examining the Case From Another Perspective
Parents are usually busy people and these days both may work. That means leaving their children in the care of babysitters or at child care centers. Sometimes, however, they are left alone if the parents feel they can be trusted on their own.
Parents Make Mistakes:
Lulled into a sense of false security parents may be less protective because they are used to having time without the child so it becomes no big deal. A noisy child or two can drive a parent to distraction and sending them outside to play while mum or dad gets on with their own thing is quite normal. The problem is time passes and when the parent comes to his or her senses it may be too late. Suddenly the alarm bells are ringing. Its very quiet out there and the offspring is nowhere in sight.
You sing out to them, call their names, all to no avail. There is no answer!
What do you do when the child is not where you expect it to be? Do you panic, search for it, wait and see if it turns up, or do you call for help, preferably ring the police. Statistics show that the first few minutes after a kidnapping are vital in solving it.
Do not wait! If your child is missing RAISE THE ALARM IMMEDIATELY.
An announcement over the loudspeakers in a shopping mall may stop a kidnapper from leaving the center and, thus, save your child's life. You must get help! a child being taken against its will stands out in most cases and people once alerted will watch out for it.
Over and over we see where children go missing and it can be the babysitter who is a murderer or kidnapper. In a recent case in England it was the mother and uncle who supposedly kidnapped the girl in question and held her captive for some time while they planned to exploit the public and get a reward for her return.
There are sick people out there and, unfortunately, they also have children. But 2 doctors who left their 3 small children alone in a bedroom at a resort in Portugal while they went out to dinner with friends is something you don't expect to happen. The little girl of 3 was taken and has not been found in 2 years of searching and despite worldwide publicity.
To What Extent Should We Go To Protect Children?
With pedophilia rife and child trafficking big business no child is safe. Whether in the school grounds, outside playing, in the local park, or even in their own bedrooms there is no child beyond the reach of the sick minded kidnappers and sex fiends who see them as easy prey.
Would you spend money to protect your child?
Kidnapping and Sexual Predation
What if one of these girls was your daughter?
Shocking Case History
Whatever happened to Megan Mulquiney
It is some twenty odd years ago now since I first heard her name. She was a teenager of around seventeen years of age working on Saturday mornings in the local shopping mall while she finished High School. We had been in Canberra only a couple of years and the case shocked the entire community.
No one noticed this extremely attractive young lady leaving the center at around midday. No one saw her at the bus stop where she would normally catch her bus home from Woden. No one saw anything suspicious and there is absolutely no trace of her after she left the shop where she worked. After all this time she is still on the missing persons list. No body and no word, no contact and no withdrawal of funds from her bank account to give a hint that she is still alive. She never took any clothes with her that morning aside from she was wearing, not even her makeup or hair brush.
Nothing of Megan's habits, personality or relationship with her mother and younger brother raised alarm bells. For all intents and purposes Megan was an ideal student, had a loving and close relationship with her family, had a nice boy friend and enjoyed life. So what happened to her. As no one saw anything there was obviously no struggle. She wasn't bound and gagged and could easily, therefore, have called out for help from the crowd. The chances are she went with someone she knew. Someone she trusted and someone who probably offered her a lift home. But she never got there.
Being spiritual I felt to visit her mother to bring some comfort and an awareness that people were with her and the family in this dreadful hour of need. She was a slightly built rather short woman who met me at the door and ushered me in. Her entire body was shaking as she thanked me for coming and stated that no other person, outside of her friends and relatives, had bothered to come. This put my mind at rest as I thought I may have been intruding. But that was not the case.
We talked for about half an hour over a cup of tea and then I left. But the impression of this poor woman and her son has never left me. Every time during missing person's week when I hear Megan's name and see her picture my heart jumps. So what can we do to stop our children being victims of such horrible crimes?
Every Child is Vulnerable
In December 2003 a 13 year old boy, Daniel Morcombe, waited for a bus under an underpass near Gladstone in Queensland. A few people in another bus saw him but a few minutes later, when his bus turned up, he was gone. No one has seen or heard of him since. He was a twin and his desperate parents and family have been going mad wondering what happened to him.
The bus he was waiting on broke down and a man in a car obviously offered him a lift. He was headed to town to buy Christmas presents for his family and friends. No struggle, no alerts raised, no witnesses and he was gone. Why?
These are famous cases that have gained a lot of publicity but there are thousands of child abductions that we hear very little or even nothing about. Its around 25 years ago that a 17 years old girl, Megan Mulqueenie, was kidnapped from a shopping center in Canberra, She has never been seen or heard of since. Led to do so by a higher power I called on her mother a few weeks later and could not believe the sight that greeted me.
A smallish woman to start with her face was drawn, she looked 20 years older than she was and she could not stop shaking. Her head, shoulders, hands, legs shook uncontrollably the whole time. Megan was her eldest child and only daughter. Her son was around 9 years at the time. there is no escaping the fact that the kidnapper must have been known to her or she could have raised an alarm as there were huge crowds around at the time as shops were closing and staff were leaving to go home, as she was.
Statistics cited by Russell Thornton, show that:Children of any age, gender or race are subjected to kidnappingOver 50 % of non family member abductions occurred on the street or in an area with trees In such cases they were taken away in vehicles.The majority of kids or teens that are abducted are taken by family members or by people known to them Only 25% are taken by strangers Those strangers are almost always men
Kids Can Be Murderers Too
In a high profile case in England video footage of a little boy, James Bolger, showed him being taken from a shopping mall by two older juveniles. These boys were themselves not yet teenagers, He was murdered and his body thrown from an overpass onto a railway line. The two boys have recently been released from prison, given new identities and sent to Australia to live. The public has no idea who they are now or where they might be living. So how safe are children around them?
It is a fact that such offenders are prone to offend again and will usually murder their victims. In the Daniel Morcombe case it has recently come to light that a well known pedophile was released from prison only a month before his disappearance. He stole a car and was in the vicinity of where Daniel disappeared at the time. The car seen to be at the overpass by the bus passengers is a perfect match for his.
So how can we protect our children? There appears to be no simple answer but there are things you can put in place that will help.
UPDATE:- Daniel's partial remains have been recovered from a lonely bush grave several kilometers from where he disappeared. The area is a swamp near a river and it was tragic watching the parents visit the site during the police search and recovery, The massive Queensland floods of last year washed away some of the soil covering the body,
Teach Your Kids to be Safe
Can you protect a child against kidnappers?
Simple Things You Can Do To Help Your Child Escape
A Guide To Safeguard Your child
Russell Thornton published a guide to help parents protect their child as much as possible under different circumstances. Taking some ideas from it I have put together this small list of things based on drills performed now for safety, such as a fire drill.
Thornton says teach your child to scream, and this is easier said than done. When you are frightened in many cases it is impossible to do anything let alone scream. But if made into a game where a parent pretends to be a bad guy while the other screams and encourages the child to do the same, this can help. It should become routine and not just a one off.
But you can add to that. We know that murders and rape rarely take place on the spot. The offender moves the victim to another place which is isolated and private. It is this that provides a window of opportunity. Teach your child not to go with strangers. That is anyone! You can insist that mummy or daddy never sends another to pick them up unless they are foretold. That is they must know beforehand that it will happen and the one coming for them must be a close member of the family, such as a sibling of the parents or a grandparent. Anyone else is barred.
A safety measure for shopping centers is to insist that lost children go to the first lady they see and tell her that they can't find their parent. The woman will usually take control and get the child to safety. They must never approach a man of any type, not even a security guard. Policemen are OK but can your child tell the difference.
Most young children lost in a center will freeze and cry and this is a big signal to a pedophile that the child is alone. Here again take your charge to a center and go through drills on being lost with it. Show it to approach a lady and what to say when lost. You can explain to the person that this is only a drill.
If the child is being abducted outside it needs to know how to escape. Thornton recommends teaching the child self defense moves, like kicking the man hard in the legs or groin. But that is OK if the child is tall and strong enough to do some damage. Screaming is again the best defense but drilling a child into likely scenarios and escape techniques is a worth while practice.
A well documented case of a boy locked in the boot of a car had the presence of mind to pull out the wires from the stop and brake lights. It had a happy ending as a result. His actions prompted a police car to pull the car over and the boy thumped hard on the boot and was released. The driver was arrested. Does your child know about the wires in the boot or how to attract attention if inside one.
These are simple things but they may save your child's life.
Releasing the Grip
Real Case Study
A lucky child escaped her kidnapper
In recent days a 10 year old girl went to her family's garbage bin in the front of the house and was kidnapped by a man who put his hand over her mouth and dragged her down the street to the corner where he tried to get her into a car. Having presence of mind she kicked him hard in the shins, which caused him to release the hand over her mouth and she screamed. He then took off without her.
This girl was lucky but, more important, she knew to kick and save herself. Children who are terrified often cannot react with such presence of mind unless they are well rehearsed into the action. We must teach children on ways they can escape and rehearse them in kicking, biting and other means by which they can cause a kidnapper pain to escape. They should also be rehearsed in ways to escape from a locked car or boot.
A child was rescued from a boot in the USA by having the presence of mind to pull the wires from the brake lights. This attracted police who pulled the driver over and the child kicked the lid and was released.
There are lots of things that children can do if they are empowered with knowledge and this is the worst kidnapping time of the year in most countries.
Don't Presume Your Child is Safe
Never Presume Your Child is OK
Here are a list of things you should do to ensure you precious child is well protected. Prevention is better than a cure in this case so:
* Know where your child is and know who they are with.
* Never leave your child alone in a public place, stroller or car.
* Always accompany your child to a public restroom.
* Teach your child to never accept gifts, rides or money from strangers.
* Establish a routine for picking your child up from school and other activities.
* Make sure your child knows their full name, address and phone number.
* Make sure that your child knows how to reach you (cell numbers and work numbers).
* Teach your child to always stay in groups.
* Teach your child how to call the police.
Not so long ago a grandmother accompanied her 8 years old grandson to the gents toilet in a park where they were picnicking. She waited outside. After a few minutes a man came out but not her grandson. After a time she went in. He was dead on the floor with a slit throat and there was blood everywhere. The man she saw leave was a predator who was never caught.
Many times there are reports of young children wandering along major highways or busy local roads. They get out during the night while parents are sleeping. How do you avoid that? You must put locks on windows, all of them. Many children are abducted through a window while sleeping.
The most famous case of this type was that of the Lindberg baby in 1921. He was abducted from an upper floor bedroom during the night and his body was found some weeks later. But babies are taken from their beds, from prams, from nurseries and even from day care right under the noses of parents and carers and many are never seen again.
Children can also fall or climb out of windows and run into serious trouble. Put locks on all the windows and doors so young children especially cannot open them. I use lengths of 1 inch square timber in the sliding groves to prevent my windows being opened from outside. That way the air can still get in but the window can't be forced open.
Other suggestions to prevent home invasion and abductions includePut security stickers around the housePut up beware of the dog signsLeave a light on outside so if someone is poking around they can be seenPlace a monitor in your children's bedrooms at nightIf you get up during the night check that your child is OKNever put temptation in anyone's way so never advertise your movementsNever give family details to anyone over the phone that you do not knowTeach you child never to open the door when you are not aroundNever let young child answer the phone or talk to strangers in the streetKnow your neighbors and be aware of anyone suspicious living nearbyShare stories and build bonds with those around you for added protectionKnow what they are up to if using a computerCheck their cell phones to see who they call and what they film
Remember, most abductions are by strangers around wooded areas. If your garden opens to the street and there are trees around then fence it off and make the area secure.
The best protection inside the home is to have a dog. It will bark at the sound of a stranger in or around your home and its hearing is hundreds of times better than yours. It will also be protective of your children.
Caught on Tape
The Best Possible Protection
Technology has come a long way and just as we can track satellites in orbit the instruments on board can track movements on the ground. Using that technology one company has come up with a safety device that your child can carry or wear so that its movements can be detected at all times.
Russell Thornton, mentioned above, is responsible for this device. He invented it after losing his 4 years old son for a short time at an amusement park and almost losing his mind because of it. He named it the Amber Alert GPS tracking devise and has written a give away book and other aids to help parents secure the safety of their children.
He claims his invention is the world's smallest, most powerful GPS tracking device. making it as easy to track your child as it is to place a call or send a text. The device, shown here, can be placed in a pocket, purse, backpack or car, or attached to a wrist, ankle, or belt. Call or text the AAGPS device, and within seconds you'll receive a detailed map and address of their exact location right on your web-enabled phone. You can also track one or more devices from your computer.
It is probably the best thing for child safety on the market and is well worth a look. If Daniel Morcombe had been wearing one he may have been found. Just click the image to get more details and a free safety packet from the Company. You can easily view the location of devise from your mobile phone and know exactly where your child is at all times.
You can also get stickers to place on your child's bag, uniform or whatever that they are protected by the device just as you put stickers around your home to prevent burglars. Its all a part of making a child safe and now, more than ever, we have to do that.
This is innovation at its best and it will definitely save lives. That makes me extremely happy to be associated with it.
Even With All That Your Child May Not Be Safe
How Safe Is You Home?
Remember that 50% of abductions are from strangers, usually men, on girls and with the increased use of the Internet predators can source their victims online. So do you know what your child is up to when using the computer? Do you know who she is chatting to and what she is doing with the cam recorder in her room?
Products are available that use great technology for web content filtering. One in particular uses ways to achieve maximum effectiveness: lists of websites, and a semantic online content analyser. The manufacturer notes that the semantic content analyzer detects imperceptibly, in real time, whether the page being accessed belongs to a permitted category, by analyzing its content.
Young girls from 8 to 18 are equally vulnerable because men seduce them with loving words, things they want to hear, and mislead them into error through assurances that they believe. This can lure a girl outside to meet with him and may lead to her death.
The Computer Allows Strangers to Get In
According to the manual on offer it allows you to:
Choose the categories or subjects to be filtered.
Create different user profiles so each person browsing on the PC can have a specific type of browsing.
Establish browsing times.
Filter file downloads.
See the browsing history for each user.
Block Internet access for repeated attempts at prohibited pages.
Protect personal data so that they are used in a secure and nonfraudulent manner while browsing the internet.
It is a fact that predators target children in chat rooms over the Internet. Recently it was reported that young girls are being encouraged to perform sexual acts, such as masturbation, in front of cam cameras in their bedrooms. That should ring alarm bells in any parents ears. What is your child doing in the bedroom and why is the door closed or locked. Take the door off if you have to because the privacy you think she needs may kill her. Better still, have the child use the computer in the lounge or dining room where you are watching the activity.
We cannot afford to be slack because predators are breaking into our lives and stealing our kids. Pedophilia is probably the biggest money earner of all time and has a turn over of billions of dollars a year. That means that criminals are as prepared to take the risks associated with sourcing fresh material as the highway robber was in the days of coach travel. Crooks don't change but they have become a lot smarter so you must get smart as well or they will bring you down.
Still images from Dreamstime - click here
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