What Parents and Children Need to Know....

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Parents

  • Set an example of good habits for your child. For instance, when away, tell your children how I long you will be gone and where you can be reached.

  • Allow your children to talk freely about themselves and their feelings. Children who are listened to, and have their needs met in the home, are less vulnerable to abuse or predators.

  • Talk about sex and sexuality. A naïve child is more vulnerable to predators.

  • Know your neighbors. Teach your children where they can go and which neighbors they can seek out if they feel threatened.

  • If there is a “Block Parent” or similar program in your community, your child should be able to recognize the placard or sign that indicates a "safe" house.

  • Know how your child’s day care center, youth organization, or school screens its personnel.

  • Know the times and route(s) your child travels to and from school or activities.

  • Make sure your child does not wear articles of clothing with his name visible on them. The knowledge of a child's name can be used to gain his confidence or put him off guard.

  • Raise your child with a strong sense of self-respect and with good self-esteem. Predators are looking for the lonely child who is hungry for attention.

Teach Your Children To Protect Themselves

Preschoolers

A preschooler should always be under the supervision and protection of a responsible adult.

Should know - - -

  • Full name, address (including city and state), and phone number (including area code).

  • How to make a phone call, including 911.

  • What private parts are (Bathing Suit Zone). A child needs to be able to tell the difference between an "Okay" touch and a "Not Okay" touch.

  • Low risk adults to approach when lost or afraid might be a police officer in uniform, store cashiers, a pregnant woman or a woman with children.

  • Always ask a parent's permission before accepting candy or gifts, or going somewhere with anyone.

  • Understand that it is okay to tell a parent or a trusted adult if anyone hurts them or tries to make them keep a secret.

Six to Ten Years Old

Should Know - - -

Always use the BUDDY SYSTEM and never go places alone. Predators usually focus on the "loners".

  • CHECK FIRST! Always let someone know where you are going.

  • Never get into a car or go with a person unless a parent has given permission. Keep a safe distance (10 ft.) from a car with someone in it.

  • It is okay to be suspicious of adults who seem too friendly. The safe thing to do is to say "NO!", then Go and Tell someone.

  • Tell a parent or trusted adult if anyone offers gifts, money, or a job; if someone wants to take your picture; if someone tries to make them keep a secret.

  • Predators use tricks to lure children. For instance, a child should know that grown-ups do not need to ask children for directions, or for help finding something like a puppy or kitten.

  • Know the family password. Do not go with anyone that does not know the password.

  • If home alone when answering the phone, never say a parent is not there. Do not open the door if someone knocks or rings the bell. Children should know to call if they are scared to need help.

  • If threatened by someone, loudly yell "NO!" screaming and attracting lots of attention is one of the most effective things you can do in a frightening situation.

  • If you feel threatened or are being followed, you should run to a safe place (house, store, or somewhere with a lot of people).

  • Trust your instincts. If a situation does not feel right, yell, get away, and seek help.

  • You should not keep secrets. When problems are too big to handle, talk about them with a trusted adult. If that person will not listen, find someone who will.

 Preteens and Teens

Should Know - - -

  • Should still use the BUDDY SYSTEM and always let someone know where you are.

  • Still vulnerable to predators and should recognize the various lures and cons used to prey on them.

  • Being naive about sex and sexuality make you more vulnerable to sexual advances by predators.

  • When out in public be aware of what is going on around you in order to avoid dangerous predators.

  • Drugs and alcohol can affect judgment and make you more vulnerable to being exploited.

  • Things can be replaced, people can not. If someone on the street is threatening or demands money or property, the safe thing to do is to give it to that person.

Additional Resources

Internet Web Sites:

http://www.MissingKids.com

http://www.PollyKlaas.org

http://www.ParentsforMegansLaw.com

http://www.Childlures.com

http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/

Books:

Protecting the Gift by Gavin De Becker

Megan’s Law Nationwide by Laura A. Ahearn, C.S.W.

Raising Safe Kids in an Unsafe World by Jan Wagner

For further information you may contact the Thousand Oaks Police Department Crime Prevention Bureau at
(805) 371-8362