You can reduce the risk to yourself and your family by taking simple precautions:
- Practice good security - at home, at the office, and in your vehicle.
- Be alert to locations and situations that make you and your family vulnerable to crime, and be aware of people around you and your family.
- Educate yourself on crime prevention tactics. For assistance, contact your local law enforcement agency or the Crime and Violence Prevention Center of the California Attorney General's Office.
- Teach your children to avoid situations that put them in danger of abuse, molestation or abduction. Help protect your child by establishing a home environment where your child feels safe to tell you anything, without fear of shame, ridicule or punishment.
A safe and supportive home environment, combined with clear instructions about what behavior is acceptable and what is not, will guide your child's actions and encourage your child to tell you if something improper happens.
Many parents warn their children not to talk to strangers. More often than not; an abuser or abductor is known to the child. He or she can be a school bus driver, teacher, relative, neighbor, or family friend.
It is best to teach your child to avoid certain situations or actions. Children should know from an early age that some behavior isn't acceptable, and that they have the right to tell an adult to leave them alone.
Here are some specific rules you can teach your child:
- Stay away from people who call you near their car, even if they offer to take you somewhere exciting.
- If someone tries to take you away, yell, "This person is not my father (or mother) and scream.
- If you get lost in a store, find another mom with children or go to the checkout counter. Don't wander around on your own.
- You don't have to keep secrets from your parents. No one can hurt your parents or pets if you tell what happened.
- No one should touch you in the parts covered by your bathing suit, and you should not be asked to touch anyone there.
- Don't let anyone take your picture without permission from your parents or teacher.