In the wake of the increasing and concerning crimes and violations against children, Tabloid Newspapers took to the streets to find out what important advice and protection measures can be taken by parents to ensure the safety of their children.

Charmaine Schwenn:
The Children’s Act of 2005 provides that parents have rights and responsibilities to their children. The recent cases of children being kidnapped or going missing are of grave concern. As parents, it is your obligation to ensure the safety of your child. You must ensure that the school is advised of who has the right to contact the child and transport the child and this must be strictly monitored. I would suggest a ‘safe word’ with your child, to ensure that anyone who purports to collect the child is authorised. If you fear your child is missing, report the matter to the SAPS immediately. You are not required to wait the alleged 24 hours. If you arein a public area and find your child to be missing, alert security and management as quickly as possible. Insist that they close-off all exits and if possible access the public address system to announce your child is missing, what they were wearing and any other description. Ensure that you have a recent photograph of your child
on hand at all times. Access social media immediately. Prevention is better than response.

Emma Dunk:
As a mother of two children, the recent crimes and violations against children really hits home. While I don’t want my children to live in fear, I do understand the necessity of having honest conversations with them about what to do should something go wrong. It is of vital importance that we, as parents, make time to talk with our children and discuss important safety issues. We need to equip them with basic guidelines on how to evade possible dangerous situations. Encourage safe habits at home, at school, on the sports field or at a friend’s house. At the end of the day, the same safety rules that apply to adults need to be instilled in our children.

Ivan Govender:
As parents and guardians, it is our responsibility to not only educate our children about safety but to also give them the necessary guidelines on how to avoid dangerous situations. Children need to practice good habits such as walking in groups, keep to streets they know, wait inside the school premises for theirlift, never talk to or trust strangers while also being cautious when engaging online. Should your child go missing, I urge parents and caregivers to immediately raise the alarm, so that authorities can be deployed to assist as soon as possible.

Vanessa Bechan:
Teaching your child important telephone numbers and addresses of individuals to contact in case of an emergency is of vital importance. Being able to identify individuals who are trustworthy such as family, police and educators is also important. A child’s school routine and extra-curricular activities should be well-known by the parent so that he/she is never left unattended to on the roadside. As an educator, I believe that children should be encouraged to use the ‘buddy system’ where they are always with a friend or classmate and are never wandering alone. Children must never talk to strangers and adopting a password system between the parent and child should be established, to prevent the child going off with the wrong individual. Teach them the power of ‘no’.

Annamarie Naicker:
The recent social media hype around the issue of child trafficking has highlighted just how vulnerable our children are and how important it is that we do all we can
to protect them. As an educator, I would never tire in my efforts to create awareness on the issue through ‘stranger danger’ talks, demonstrations
and media awareness campaigns. It was Nelson Mandela who said: “There is no keener revelation of a society’s soil than the way it treats its children.”