It's impossible to prevent all crime, but anyone can reduce the chances of becoming a victim by knowing how to practice personal safety. Children are frequently bullied into secrecy by their abusers with threats of harm and even murder against family members and friends. Kids don't tell no matter how much you encourage them when they think you are the potential target, so it's up to adults to watch out for warning signs. Know your child, watch for changes in behavior and trust your gut.
Here are a few more tips and additional resources for keeping your children, your family and yourself safe:
· Be alert to and aware of your surroundings. Know the "escape routes" and plan what you would do in different emergencies.
Practice "what if" scenarios so you will be well prepared. Know the location of local hospitals and best routes to take to reach them. Know how to reach the nearest local law enforcement agency or sub-station.
-- Know the Rules ... Abduction and Kidnapping Prevention Tips for Parents and Guardians From the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (www.missing kids.com)
· If you're separated from your parent or caregiver in the mall or somewhere else, try to find a mom who has children and tell her you're lost. Never leave the building with ANYONE except your caregiver.
-- Help Keep Kids Safe: Five Tips for Parents and the Community, from the Jacob Wetterling Foundation (www.ncjrs.gov/html/ojjdp/psc_english_02/intro.html)
· Teach your children that adults should not approach children for help or directions. Tell your children that, if they are approached by an adult, they should stay alert because this might be a "trick."
-- What You Can Do To Help Your Child, from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (www.ncjrs.gov)