Traditional messages of "Don't take candy from strangers," "Don't be a tattletale," and "Be respectful to adults, they know what they're doing" are incomplete and can lead to the abduction and sexual victimization of children. Children and families do not have to live in fear of these crimes, but they do need to be alert, cautious, and prepared. The key to child safety is communication. A child's best weapon against victimization is his or her ability to think and preparation to respond to potentially dangerous situations. By learning and following these 8 Rules for Safety, children can empower themselves with the skills, knowledge, and abilities to better protect themselves.
- Before I go anywhere, I always check first with my parents or the person in charge. I tell them where I am going, how I will get there, who will be going with me, and when I'll be back.
- I check first for permission from my parents before getting into a car or leaving with anyone - even someone I know. I check first before changing plans or accepting money, gifts, or drugs without my parents' knowledge.
- It is safer for me to be with other people when going places or playing outside. I always use the "buddy system."
- I say NO if someone tries to touch me in ways that make me feel frightened, uncomfortable, or confused. Then I go and tell a grown-up I trust what happened.
- I know it is not my fault if someone touches me in a way that is not O.K. I don't have to keep secrets about those touches.
- I trust my feelings and talk to grown-ups about problems that are too big for me to handle on my own. A lot of people care about me and will listen and believe me. I am not alone.
- It is never too late to ask for help. I can keep asking until I get the help I need.
- I am a special person, and I deserve to feel safe. My rules are:
- Check First
- Use The "Buddy System"
- Say No, Then Go And Tell
- Listen To My Feelings, And Talk With Grown-Ups I Trust About My Problems And Concerns.
Basic Rules of Safety for Children
As soon as your children can articulate a sentence, they can begin the process of learning how to protect themselves against abduction and exploitation.
- Children should be taught if you are in a public place and you get separated from your parents, don't wander around looking for them. Go to a checkout counter, the security office, or the lost and found and quickly tell the person in charge that you have lost your mom and dad and need help finding them.
- You should not get into a car or go anywhere with any person unless your parents have told you that it is okay.
- If someone follows you on foot or in a car, stay away from him or her. You should not get close to any car unless your parent or a trusted adult accompany you.
- Grownups and others who need help should not be asking children for help; they should be asking older people.
- No one should be asking you for directions or to look for a "lost puppy" or telling you that your mother or father is in trouble and that he or she will take you to them.
- If someone tries to take you somewhere, quickly get away from him (or her) and yell or scream. "This man (woman) is trying to take me away" or "this person is not my father (mother)."
- You should try to take a friend with you, and never go places alone.
- Always ask your parents' permission to leave the yard or play area or to go into someone's home.
- Never hitchhike or try to get a ride home with anyone unless your parents have told you it is okay to ride with him or her.
- No one should touch you in the parts of the body that would be covered by a bathing suit, nor should you touch anyone else in those areas. Your body is special and private.
- You can be assertive and you have the right to say no to someone who tries to take you somewhere, touches you, or makes you feel uncomfortable, scared or confused in any way.