Child Safety Tips
One in 42 children will become lost, missing, kidnapped
or run away this year. While stranger abduction is relatively rare, it still happens.
Most abductions are perpetrated by someone the child knows. Child abduction is
a tragedy. It devastates the parents, families, and touches all of us. Please
read the following carefully about ways to keep your children safe. If you have
questions, please contact the SBPD.
You Should Do
attention to where your children are at all times; don't lose sight of your child
in public places.
leave children alone in cars.
strict procedures for picking your children up at school, at a friend's, a movie,
etc. Tell your children not to accept rides from people with whom you have not
made previous arrangements even if they say they are a police officer,
teacher, or friend of the family.
a family code word. Tell your children never to go with someone who does not know
the code word.
your children their full names, your full name, address, and telephone number.
Teach them how to reach either you or a trusted adult, and how to call for police
sure they know how to make local and long distance telephone calls. Even a small
child can be taught to dial 911 or 0 for Operator for help.
your children about the abduction problem in a calm and simple way as if you were
teaching any other important coping skill.
attentively if your children talk about anyone they encounter in your absence.
- Have photographs
of your children taken four times a year (especially for pre-schoolers). Make
a note of birthmarks and other distinguishing features.
fingerprints taken of your children.
that child predators look like regular folks.
an open dialog about safety; give situational quizzes about all safety issues.
to leave the yard without permission. Very small children should play only in
the backyard or in a supervised play area.
to wander off, to avoid lonely places, and not to take shortcuts through alleys
or deserted areas.
are safer walking or playing with friends.
to come straight home from school unless you have made other arrangements.
- Never to
enter anyone's home without your prior approval.
scream, run away, and tell you or a trusted adult if anyone attempts to touch
or grab them.
to give out any information on the telephone, particularly their name and address,
or that they are alone.
to go anywhere with anyone who does not know the family code word.
keep all doors locked and only admit authorized people into the house. No one
else should be permitted to enter.
memorize their full names and address, including city and state.
memorize their telephone number, including zip code.
to use the telephone to make emergency, local, and long distance calls.
to go into your home if a door is open or a window is broken.
to work door and window locks.
to answer the doorbell and telephone when they are home alone.
run to the nearest public place, neighbor, or safe house if they feel they are
tell you if someone asks them to keep a secret, offers them gifts or money, or
asks to take their picture.
always tell you if something happened while they were away from you that made
them feel uncomfortable.
10 Lures Used by Child Predators
Knowing the top 10 lure techniques
(as identified by the FBI) that are used by child predators will better prepare
you to talk openly to your children and teach them what key phrases to look for
and how to stay safe.
This is a person who needs help carrying boxes to his car, or to find a lost
dog, or lost child.
that adults don't ask kids for help in any way. Adults should ask Adults for help
or directions or whatever they want.
This is when the predator promises to take the child to Mommy
and Daddy. Or perhaps promises a surprise or candy in the car.
Tell children that they are NEVER to go with anyone unless Mom or Dad has
instructed them to.
This is the predator who gives the child candy, toys, money, or other gifts.
Tell children NEVER to accept
gifts from anyone unless they received permission from Mom and Dad. This includes
money from other family members (especially when the child is told to keep a secret).
Tell children that we don't keep secrets in our family.
This is the predator who tells the child that 'Mommy was
in a car accident' and the child is to go with them. Or 'Your Mom called and asked
me to pick you up today'
children the names of people you have entrusted as emergency back ups. Remind
them NEVER to go with anyone unless Mom or Dad instructs them to.
This is the fireman, policeman, priest,
teacher or other authority figure who uses their position and suggested authority
to win the child's trust.
Tell children not to go with anyone no matter what they are wearing or who they
are, even if it means that they might get into trouble. (Many authority figures
tell kids they will be in trouble, or threaten to hurt Mom and Dad if the child
This is the nice friendly predator who engages the child in conversation.
Teach children not to talk to
any adults they don't know unless their parent is with them.
This is the predator that plays touching games and makes the
child promise not to tell. Or other 'games' that the child feels uncomfortable
Teach children to listen
to their instincts. If something makes them feel funny in their stomachs, they
are to stop, run and tell.
This is the person who the child looks up to as "cool". Perhaps a friend's
older sibling, or a relative or a neighbor who has the latest video games.
Teach children to listen to their
instincts. If someone asks them to do something they know is wrong or feels funny,
teach them to stop, run and tell.
This is the predator who seemingly magically knows the child's
name or other information about the child.
Don't put nametags on the outside of your children's clothing, books, book bags,
the scary predator that just grabs the child off his/her bike and throws them
into the car.
This is the
time when a child should fight, scream, kick, bite. Tell children that if they
are on their bikes and someone tries to take them off, they should hold the bike
as hard as they can while screaming, "You're not my Mom/Dad!"
What Can You Do To Protect Your Children From Child
can help protect their children by teaching them awareness of dangerous people
and the lures used to entice children. Children should be AWARE not AFRAID of
the dangers! Through education, perhaps we can prevent a child's disappearance.
aside time to talk to your children about dangerous people and strangers. Gear
the talk to your children's level of understanding. Be straightforward, without
frightening a sensitive child.
current files on your children. Include a recent photo (update it at least four
times a year for children under two, at least twice a year otherwise.), physical
description, extra activities, and friend's names, addresses and phone numbers.
Obtain a set of foot print or finger prints through local law enforcement or qualified
professionals. Maintain dental or medical records.
usually select a child they think will be an easy target. They look for children
who walk to school alone, take shortcuts, or seem to be alienated from other children.
Quite often they watch playgrounds and observe children's play habits.
cautious when you select someone to care for your children. Meet them and check
their references. If your children must be left alone, explain the proper way
to answer the telephone and the door.
your children their full name and yours, phone number with area code, and address
with zip code. They should know how to make local and long distance calls; use
a pay phone; call home and law enforcement departments; and dial "0"
for the operator or 911 in an emergency.
note the clothes your children wear EVERYDAY! Avoid putting names visibly on clothing
or belongings. Know where your children are at all times. Never leave them unattended
in a public place, car or store. Children should play in supervised areas only.
sure your children know what to do if you are separated while shopping. They should
not look for you; they should go to the nearest clerk and ask for help!
who a stranger is. Children should never enter a stranger's home, get into their
car, or take gifts from them. Explain when the child has the right to say NO to
an adult. Be aware of anyone who pays an unusual amount of attention to your children.
Listen to your children if they don't want to be left alone with someone. Ask
them to tell you about anyone who asks them to keep a secret or any new adults
a family, choose a family code word. Instruct your children to never go with anyone
who does not know the code word. Stress that the word is not to be given to anyone.
Change it frequently. Ask the school or day care center to notify you immediately
if your children are absent. Inform them of people authorized to pick up your
children. Have the same person every day if possible.
your children to use the buddy system. Advise them what to do if a stranger follows
or approaches them. Get to know your neighbors and establish "safe homes"
where children can go for help.
Predators on the Internet
While the computer age has opened
a whole new world for our children to explore and learn from, the "information
superhighway" also has a dark side we all need to be aware of. Just as they
prey on land, Pedophiles lurk on the Internet waiting to lure innocent children
into their web of deviance, looking for their next victim.
meet others who claim children for their victims, share stories, pictures and
encourage each other along the way.
The tricks they use on the Internet
are a little different. They can hide behind the screen. No one can tell if they
are 12, 20, 40, or any age. They know how to relate to children and find it easy
to communicate on that level. They present themselves in areas children frequent
and pose as children. They get to know the child they are communicating with and
pass themselves off as a friend. Often, they will use smoking cigarettes, using
drugs, talking about sex, or some activity they should not be involved with as
an incitement to lure the child to meet them without anyone knowing.
The trap is then laid. An adult will lure the child out to meet with them. Thinking
it's another child, they set off to meet their friend. What happens next depends
on the plan of the predator. For some, this would be enough. The fact that they
won their trust enough to get them to meet them may be all the ground rules they
need to molest the child. Some may attempt a closer relationship by playing the
con a little longer.
The key to all of this is that child predators are
cons. Their goals are as varied as their egos. The limits for one may just be
the beginning point for another. There is no way to predict how any given predator
will react. Their personalities differ. Their needs are not the same in many ways.
There is only one thing they have completely in common. That is the fact that
they find their thrill in luring a child into their well concocted plan.
If you own a home computer please advise children of any age of the following
rules, which may reduce your child's risk of exploitation:
give out any personal information such as your last name, address, telephone number,
your parents' first or last names, their work phone numbers, name of their employer's
or business names, the name or location of your school. Make them understand they
must always ask you and get your permission first!
to send anyone your photograph or any other items via the Internet without obtaining
your parent's permission even if someone insists you will not get into trouble.
If someone repeatedly asks for your photo please be sure to alert your parents
respond to any messages that make you feel uncomfortable! Don't allow someone
to say mean or naughty things to you; they have no right to do so! If you do come
across someone doing this please get your parents right away so that they can
get the person's user ID and possibly their IP address so that they may contact
the on-line service.
agree to get together or meet with anyone you meet on-line. If someone asks you
to meet with them first discuss it with your parents. If your parents agree to
the meeting, be sure they come along and that you meet in a very public place
such as a mall.
more you know, the more you can teach your children to be aware of the world around
them. There is so much good in it. They should be able to enjoy it, safely.
Signs of Physical Abuse
signs and indicators that should alert parents, doctors, nurses, dentist, school
teachers, daycare workers, babysitters, or law enforcement to sexual or physical
- bruises, cuts, limping, multiple injuries, pain, bleeding, itching,
fluid or rawness in private areas of the body.
- withdrawal, fearfulness, isolation, excessive mood swings,
nightmares, starts bed-wetting, stops potty-training, aggressive or rebellious
behavior, school problems, clinging, excessive crying, or regression to infantile
behavior. Sudden interest in sexual habits not suited for their age group.
depression, anxiety, panicky,
guiltiness, rejection, acting out their feelings, aggressiveness, intentionally
afflicts pain to them, becomes fearful of certain people, places, or activities.
If you notice any of these signs or indicators, you should ask questions.
Ask the child about whatever has alarmed you. Please pay very close attention
to their reaction, as well as their answers to your questions. Children may try
to make excuses or cover it up out of shame or fear of the predator.
When you question a child under these circumstances, you must stay com and collective.
Keep your composure and assure the child they are not to blame for whatever is
happening to them. Point out to them that the abuser is solely to blame and must
be punished for their actions. This can be tough if the abuser is someone close
to them, like a relative.
NEVER show disbelief in what the child tells
you! You must gain the child's trust and they must feel security in your presence
or they will claim up and withdrawal. It is very rare for a child to lie about
something of this nature.
Explain to the child the procedures that must
be taken. Reinforce the trust and feel of security that they have placed in you!
Promise to stay by their side and do so! The child has given you their confidence,
don't blow it!
Call the police or local law enforcement and report the
crime. It might be easier for the victim if you request an officer of the same
sex as the child to do the questioning. Ask the child if he or she would feel
more comfortable with a male or female officer. Most law enforcement agencies
have male and female officers trained to handle these cases.
will need to go to a hospital to be checked out. The doctor will do a complete
examination and take specimens, samples, and pictures needed for prosecutors to
prosecute the case. Please stay by the child's side as you promised, unless the
child asks you not to! This will be a very trying time for the child, but it is
of utmost importance to prove the guilt of the predator or abuser. You must give
the child your full support!
What can the concerned parent/guardian look for to I.D.
a potential offender?
unusual and pervasive interest in a particular child especially, but not
limited to, female children.
more favors or privileges to one child over another.
more with children than with adults.
wanting to have adult friends over to the house, or to participate in adult activities.
to stay home most of the time.
one child to stay home while the others go somewhere.
on child having friends over to spend the night instead of vice versa.
to isolate with a child, i.e., encouraging mother to go shopping, on separate
vacations, separate working schedules, etc.
offers to baby-sit with the children while the mother or parents go out and relax,
roughhousing with children on a regular basis.
the normal rules of modesty and encouraging a lack of modesty around the home.
a lack of modesty on the part of the children.
inappropriately dressed around children.
into the bathroom or bedroom when children are bathing or dressing.
age inappropriate topics with a child.
child who is directly or indirectly trying not to be isolated with a suspect.
(For purposes of brevity, the word 'suspect' is used to include any person from
the 'suspected categories' above).
interest in normal marriage sexual relations. Very few sex offenders have regular
and loving sexual relations with their spouse.
and/or frequent masturbation.
to media hype about sex offender arrests. This is where the sex offender uses
the media hype to frighten his victim and also to cover up his own crimes.
a particular child like they were an adult and including them in adult conversations
about adult matters. Especially talking about sexual things around children or
telling off color jokes to children. Most child molesters are interested in children
who demonstrate an interest in sex. Telling off color stories and noting the reaction
is a method used to test this interest.
or observed to stare at one or more of the children while the child is engaged
in normal activities.
interest in young girls/boys at the mall or other public places.
on children in the home. For example, excessive interest in watching the children
play after they are in their night clothes.
should be noted that almost everyone does some (or a lot) of these things at least
some of the time. This does not mean that they are sex offenders, or even potential
sex offenders. The key to discovery is that both the potential and acting-out
offender does a high percentage of these things quite regularly. The problem is
that unless you are looking for the right thing and the right combination of things,
you will think what you see is normal because in the great majority of
instances it is normal non-offender behavior.
All the more why the media-view
of the sex offender allows the majority of the offenders a safe place to hide
their destructive behaviors. That's also the reason the child molester is so hard
to spot. Primarily, he/she is a very normal person.
on Sexual Offenders
Sex offenders, for the most part, are hard working,
tax paying citizens who support their family and who go to church with moderate
regularity. That is to say, except for their 'sexual aberration' they are
basically non-criminal, non-violent, and in their daily activities you can see,
they are very ordinary people. But the media and the legislature paint the sex
offender as an ugly monster who is frothing at the mouth and prowling around playgrounds
stalking little children. If this had any reasonable truth, the sex offender would
be easy to spot and even easier to catch.
While it is true that there
are some of these rabid, frothing at the mouth people out there and in prison
statistically they are far more rare than lightning strikes on airplanes.
Nevertheless, in complete disregard of reality, this monster-profile has become
the public and official mind set quite simply because it is easier to hate
and a lot more interesting than the truth.
That the victim is perceived
as a willing participant is a key element of most sex offender's deviant fantasy
pattern. The continued failure of the "powers that be" to admit or accept
that a large majority of children have an early interest in and/or curiosity about
sex is one of the sex offender's primary tools. Many sex offenders take advantage
of this natural curiosity to encourage his victim to participate and not complain.
The overwhelming majority of sex offenders would probably never offend against
a victim that resisted them in any manner or by any means.
this is not true with the power rapist, some child molesters and the sadistic
molester/rapist. These categories present their own special problems of treatment;
however, with the exception of the power rapist, the above outlined identification
profile has meaningful application.
The South Bend Police Department
strongly recommends that you talk to your children; to be candid with them. Unfortunately
this is a reality in our society and children should be informed that this could
occur. The topic should be brought up in a calm, helpful way that diffuses fear
and offers practical and realistic tips.
As the Internet becomes more and more popular, it also becomes
more and more dangerous to your kids. Parents should take an active role in teaching
their children how to use the Internet properly and how to avoid all of the dangers
that are out there. They need to monitor their children's Internet usage and make
sure their children know and follow the rules for being online.
parents, the South Bend Police Department has assembled these resources to get
"up to speed" on how their kids use the Internet and to know how to
help and monitor their children's online activities to keep them safe.
Safety on the Information Highway Booklet
Provides information on what
the web is, how it is used and how to protect kids. It includes a Pledge which
parents can have their kids sign and post by the computer to remind them of the
rules for Internet use.
- Teen Safety
on the Information Highway Booklet
Provides information about how
to use the web and what dangers are out there, from online predators to privacy
risks. Warns parents about chat rooms, email, forums and more.
Provides interactive and educational workshops on Internet safety and usage.
Provides real-life scenarios to teens and kids about the dangers of meeting people
online and other situations kids face on the Internet.
Delete Online Predators
A campaign from the Ad Council to help parents
know how to recognize and deal with online predators. Includes how to talk with
your kids, how to understand the online lingo, true stories and other resources
to help parents protect their kids online.
Report incidences of child sexual exploitation online.