According to Missing Children South Africa, one child goes missing every five hours in SA. Sadly, very few of these incidences ever make the headlines in quite the same way as the recent kidnapping of Amy-Lee de Jager. According to a News24 report, the “6-year-old Grade R girl was kidnapped by four men in front of Laerskool Kollegepark in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng,” and thankfully, she has since been safely returned to her family.
What you should do:
- Know your child’s whereabouts at all times.
- At a very early age, teach your child their name, address and telephone number and your first and last name.
- Teach them how to call 10111 for help.
- Make sure children know how to make local and long-distance telephone calls.
- Teach your children to scream as loudly as possible, and that it is okay to do so when afraid.
- Never leave children alone in a car, not even for a few seconds.
- Establish strict procedures for picking up children at school, after movies, at friends’ homes, etc.
- Establish a family code word that only you, your child and a trusted relative or friend knows. Teach your child to ask for the code word when approached by someone offering them a ride.
- Remind your children to never accept a ride from someone you don’t know, even if the child knows them.
- Talk to your children about child abduction in a simple, non-threatening way.
- Listen to your child when he or she discusses anyone they have met or spoken with when you weren’t around.
- Have photographs taken of your children at least four times a year (especially for pre-schoolers). Make note of birthmarks or other distinguishing features.
- Have your child fingerprinted and store the prints in a safe, easily accessible place in your home.
Teach your children to:
- Never leave home without your permission. Very small children should play only in areas away from the street, such as a backyard, or in a play area supervised by a responsible adult.
- Never wander off, to avoid lonely places, and to avoid shortcuts through alleys or deserted areas. They are safer walking or playing with friends.
- Come straight home from school unless you have made other arrangements.
- Never enter anyone’s home without your approval.
- If accosted by a stranger in a mall, scream ‘This is not my Daddy!’ and get behind the nearest shop counter.
- Scream, run away and tell you or a trusted adult if anyone attempts to touch or grab them, of if a stranger offers them a ride.
- Never give any information over the telephone including their name and address, or indicate they are alone.
- Keep doors locked and admit only authorized people into the house.