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Stranger Danger

Stranger DangerI have always been concerned about my child being approached by a dangerous person.  I cant imagine another instance that I would be more scared of?  There was some research done in NSW that showed 95% of attacks on children are from people they know.  Which also means we need to educate our kids on the safe places around them like shops, neighbours and who are the safe people in our lives.

Not only do we need to educate our kids on what to do when confronted by a stranger but also simply what to do when feeling uncomfortable.

My kids are generally never out of my sight (whilst in my care) and I trust their mother completely with keeping an eye on them too but never the less it is a scary thought all the same.

The other day when driving my daughter to school we discussed the “what if” a stranger approached you? It was funny even though not a funny topic.  She said ” I would kick them in the penis” and then demonstrated on the glove-box how hard she would kick 🙂 we laughed! Below are the points we chatted about …

What is a strange person?

Whilst most people are friendly and genuine, there are some who mean harm to children.

We discussed things to ALWAYS DO and some things to NEVER DO if they come in contact with a stranger – someone they haven’t met before.  You can’t tell if a person you do not know is good or bad, even if they look and seem nice.

If approached by a stranger always…

  • say NO to a stranger
  • stay away from strangers
  • play with your friends and when playing away from home, look after your younger brothers and sisters and friends.
  • tell your parents, or a responsible adult that you know, where you are going, who you are going with and what time you will be back.
  • return home by the agreed time.
  • Tell your parents, friend, teacher, police officer or responsible adult that you know if your approached by a stranger.
  • Go home as quickly as you can if a stranger comes up to you.  If you can’t get home, go somewhere you know will be safe, like your school or a police station.
  • Kick scream and yell. That will alert people in the vicinity that there is something terribly wrong.


  • walk off with a stranger.
  • go near or get into a strange car or van, whatever the stranger says.
  • take lollies or presents, even if it is something you really want.
  • go off on your own.
  • play near to public toilets, building sites, empty buildings, busy roads etc…

Warren Cann, a psychologist and director of the Raising Children Network, a parenting website, says it is important that parents find a balance between instilling protective behaviours and creating a fear of all strangers.

“Making kids scared of all strangers is not good for anyone and breaks down community connectedness,” he says.

“Instead, we need to teach kids how to keep themselves safe – and not just with strangers.”

Parents are terrified

  • In 2008 a Melbourne study of 300 children aged four to eight years found that two-thirds of kids were banned from playing outside their garden gate, with children citing reasons such as abduction and death.
  • A 2010 VicHealth study noted parental fear of strangers as a major impediment to children’s independent mobility and physical activity. It cited research that found 38 per cent of people surveyed believed there was a high risk a child would be abducted if they moved between places without adult supervision.

The real risk

Several commentators have tried to put a figure on the probability of a child being abducted. Lenore Skenazy, who kicked off the “free-range” child movement, puts it at one in 600,000, while author Dan Gardner predicts in his book Risk (Scribe) that a child is 26 times more likely to die in a car crash than to be abducted by a stranger.

Advice for parents

  • Even if the risk is minimal, parents need to ensure their children have an understanding of “protective behaviours,” Cann says.

Here are his suggestions.

  • Talk about staying safe when you are not around.  Rather than banning kids from getting into a stranger’s car, make it a rule that they can’t make changes to plans or get into anyone’s car unless they have run it past you.
  • Encourage a “no secrets” policy, so if something happens to make them feel uncomfortable they can talk to you – or have other people they can confide in.