Street Smart Kid Crime Prevention and Personal Safety
- Make sure your child knows how to dial "911" or the Operator to ask for help.
- Make sure your child knows his or her name, address and phone number.
- Make sure your child knows exactly what a "stranger" is.
- Make sure you child knows a secret code word only you share.
- Make sure you play "what if" games with your child.
- Make sure your child does not wear personalized clothing making him or her an easy target.
- Make sure your child knows the difference between a "good touch" and a "bad touch."
- Make sure your child knows how to say "no" to adults.
- Make sure your child knows, if lost, to look for a person in uniform, such as a police officer or bus driver.
- Make sure your child knows to trust his or her instincts, and knows that if something suspicious happens, he or she should act on it; run to a crowded place and shout for help.
Unless circumstances change:
- About 80 percent of those now 12 years old in the U.S. will become victims of completed or attempted violent crimes during their lifetimes.
- About half of them will be victims two or more times.
- Three in ten of these young people will be victims of a completed or attempted robbery during their lifetimes.
- One in 12 white females and one in nine black females will be the victim of a rape or attempted rape.
- An estimate seven of eight young people will be the victims of personal theft three or more times during their lifetimes.
- To reduce their risks of becoming crime victims, children need self-protection information at an early age, reinforced and expanded throughout their childhood. Children who are well-grounded in crime prevention and practice sound self-protection techniques are more likely to continue to use these throughout their lives.
Refers to children left to care for themselves and sometimes for younger siblings, without adult supervision. There are more latchkey children now than ever before because of the increase in women working outside the home, the increase in the number of single-parent families, the decline of extended families, the absence of neighborhood connections, and the shortage of affordable child care.
Many children enjoy having the chance to take care of themselves and feel grown up when trusted with responsibility. Others may fee less confident. All of them at some time feel lonely, bored, or scared.
Developing a Routine
Parents and Guardians must establish a routine that will help a child avoid the feeling of being lost or abandoned. This also allows them to plan activities that will keep them productively occupied and entertained. Developing a Schedule
Schedules may include wake-up time, time for breakfast, time to get dressed, time to do homework, time to complete chores, and time parents will arrive home.
Phone lists should include emergency contacts and pagers with a code number to call home.
Children need to know what to do when someone comes to a door while they are home alone. Generally, it is advisable not to allow anyone, adult or child, inside the house.
The child should be able to see who is outside the door without opening it. A child should learn what to say without letting the person at the door know that he or she is home alone.
Basic door safety tips for children:
Never hide a house key outside the house, someone else may find it.
Never wear your house key outside your clothing for others to see.
Never tell anyone you are alone.
Never open the door for someone you don't know.
- Always take the same route to and from school.
- Know where block parents, "Safe Places" are on or near your school route.
- Notice where there are pay phones on your school route in case you have to make a call in an emergency.
- Lock up your bike.
- Put your name on your personal possessions so you can identify them if they are stolen.
- Keep your money in your pocket or backpack till you need it.
- Don't leave anything you care a lot about in your desk, especially overnight.
- Keep away from strangers--especially in areas where you are away from others, whether around the bathrooms, playground, or outside the building.
- Never accept a ride from anyone, unless your parents personally told you it was OK to ride with that person at that time.
- Go straight home after school, unless your parents specifically gave you permission to go somewhere else.
Definitions of child abuse include the following:
Physical violence: intentional injury that may include severe beating, burns, strangulating, or human bites.
Emotional cruelty and deprivation: unreasonable demands on a child to perform above his or her capabilities and does so in an excessive or aggressive manner----examples include constant teasing, belittling, verbal attacks, and a lack of love, support, or guidance.
Physical neglect: the failure to provide a child with food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.
Children are often taught about "stranger danger," but the reality is that most danger lies not with strangers but with someone the child knows. In most cases of child abuse, including sexual abuse and abduction, the offender is a family member, relative, or some other person the child knows and trusts. When this trust is violated, the child feels confused and does not know what to do. Particularly in the case of sexual contact, the child may not know that what has happened is not only wrong, but it is a crime; that he or she is not at fault; and that it's OK to talk about it. An estimated one million suspected child abuse incidents are reported every year in the United States.
The average age of a child abuse victim is 7.2 years.
Each year, an estimated 2,000 to 5,000 children die from child abuse, and those who survive often suffer lasting pain and even disability from serious injuries and emotional trauma.
Abused children are at high risk from becoming involved with alcohol and other drugs; they are more likely to run away or to become involved in crime and violence.
1. Bribes (offenders is usually known to the child):
"I'll give you a present (money, toy)."
"I'll take you to the amusement park."
2. Games and fun (offender is usually known to the child; games lead to intimate body contact):
tickling; hide under the blanket; play doctor; hide items under clothes.
3. Emergency (offender is usually a stranger):
"your mom is sick, and she asked me to bring you to the hospital".
4. Lure of opportunity (offender is usually a stranger):
Offender may offer the child a modeling career of some other exciting job and then take pornographic pictures or engage in molestation.
5. Authority (offender may be known to the child and takes advantage of the respect a child has for authority):
a stranger tells the child he is a policeman and may even wear a uniform, carry a badge, and have a flashing light in the car;
a relative may use position as a family member to trick a child into sex games;
a teacher may use his or her authority to abuse a child.
6. Assistance (offender is usually a stranger):
"My dog is lost; will you help me find it?"
"I'm lost, will you show me _______?" ( often a popular landmark, school, or big building).
7. Attention/Affection (offender is usually known to the child):
"I won't like you anymore if you don't...."
8. Threats/fear (offender is usually known to the child):
"I'll go to jail if you tell."
"No one will believe you if you tell."
9. Psychological manipulation (offender is usually known to the child):
"I'm doing this because I love you."
"What we're doing is all right---everyone does it."
"We're special friends. This is our little secret."
Why Children Don't Tell Adults About a Touching Problem
They are afraid that no one will believe them.
They believe that it's their fault and that they will get into trouble.
They are frightened by threats made by the offender about what will happen if they tell someone.
They have tried to tell an adult but didn't know the right words, or may have described the situation in a way that the adult didn't understand what they were talking about.
They may not know that the sexual activity was wrong.
Open and honest communication between caring adults and children about their bodies and the difference between acceptable and unacceptable touching can lessen many of these fears and help children feel more comfortable about asking for help.
Children should fully understand these key concepts:
No one has the right to ask a child to keep secrets from his or her parents. Presents and surprise parties are OK, because the child knows when the secret stops.
No one has the right to touch a child in a way that hurts him or her or makes him or her feel uncomfortable.
No one has the right to ask a child to touch them in a way that makes him or her feel uncomfortable.
Children have the right to say no, even to an adult.
Strangers While most child abuse is committed by someone the child knows, it is also important that the children learn to use suitable caution with strangers. Children should use special caution when approached by a stranger and be familiar with common tricks and lures that a stranger might use to win their trust or friendship.
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