Keeping Kids Safe Safety Tips for Teenagers A Guide To Babysitting Child Abuse A spot test for your children What to do if a crime
KEEPING KIDS SAFE
The key to protecting children from crime, abuse and danger is good prevention education. Children (under 18 years of age) should be taught prevention at the youngest possible age. This page offers practical recommendations to decrease children's exposure to crime, abuse or related dangers. At the end of this page is a spot test that you can use to ensure whether your children understand prevention and safety measures.
As you read through this page, you will notice that crime prevention devices and gadgets are not recommended; because true prevention education requires good judgment and knowledge, not weapons.
In order to make crime prevention effective, we must first dispel some false beliefs about personal safety.
- Talking about dangers will scare children.
- Fear in children is all bad.
- What they don't know can't hurt them.
- Nothing bad can happen in our neighborhood.
- Self-protection is based on physical skill and athletic ability.
- Having a bad experience will make a child tougher and stronger.
Children may become confused about safety precautions because of the way they are brought up at home. So parents, beware of the rules children are taught at home. The following rules and others can make them more vulnerable to crime and/or abuse:
- Always answer a question when you are asked.
- When spoken to by an adult, always acknowledge the adult with a smile or an answer.
- Always do what adults ask you to do.
- Neither bother other people nor make a scene because someone is making you feel uncomfortable.
- Always thank people for their kindness when they offer to help you.
- Always be helpful and show compassion for people who are less fortunate than you.
EDUCATE YOUR YOUNGER CHILDREN IN CRIME PREVENTION NOW!
- Never talk to strangers or accept a ride or gifts from them - ever.
- Remember that your body is your own.
- It is okay to say no if someone tries to hurt you.
- Always tell your parents if someone has frightened you or tried to do something you have not wanted them to do.
- Remember that you can say no to touching or kissing if you don't like it and always tell your parents if someone tries to touch you and tells you to keep it secret.
- It is okay to scream if someone tries to force you to go some where with them or do something against your will.
Suggested school safety tips, depending on children's ages.
If your young children are in a daycare center:
- The daycare facility you choose must be fully licensed or accredited.
- Children should be instructed never to leave the daycare center without your permission.
- Take an active interest in the daycare facility and the people operating it.
- Immediately investigate injuries or bruises of unknown origin.
- Investigate any complaints, by your child, of long periods of playing alone.
- Instruct children at home on the signs of child abuse (see section on How to spot signs of child abuse or neglect).
- Rehearse children at home on alternatives for reacting to an uncomfortable situation. Use your best judgment.
- Teach children to say NO to adults who threaten them or touch them in sensitive places.
- Alert children to report to you anyone who touches them in sensitive areas.
- Children should tell you about all punishment received at the daycare center.
If your children are in school:
- Teach them about crime and safety and how to defend themselves when they are ready to enter the school system.
- Do not allow your children to carry weapons or firearms at any time.
- Accompany children to and from school until they know their way and obey proper traffic safety rules. Never allow them to hitch-hike.
- Encourage your children to report strangers who approach them.
- Do not allow your children to carry extra money or valuables to school.
- Teach them to secure their personal belongings in school lockers and not to give out combinations.
- Warn your children to stay away from dark corridors and lonely staircases in schools.
- Tell your children to be aware of bullies and troubled individuals and to avoid their presence.
- Teach your children to say NO to drugs, alcohol, smoking, prostitution, gambling, weapons, illegal fireworks, etc...
- Teach children that vandalism and graffiti are also forms of crime that they should avoid. Also teach them at an early age not to litter the streets.
Street safety rules for children:
The following are some street safety and crime prevention tips that you (as a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, guardian, etc.) must impress upon children as soon as they are able to understand and practice safety.
- Know who your friends are. Remember, true friends would never put you in a risky or dangerous predicament.
- Walk to and from school with a group of friends.
- Do not go alone to movie theatres, playgrounds, parks or amusement parks.
- Play where other kids play - friends house, playgrounds, or at home.
- Don't linger in the schoolyard (or workplace, for the older children) longer than the rest of your friends or after they have left.
- Know the way you will travel home. Use that way home everyday. Make sure your parents also know the way that you take.
- Stay alert. Walk purposefully. Do not stroll on the streets. Look as though you have to be somewhere by a certain time, and always be aware of your surroundings.
- If you have any problem after school, go back to the school and find a teacher if there is no one at home.
- Try and find out where the nearest Safety House is on your way home, and if there is a problem go to the Safety House quickly.
- Walk or bike to school or work in residential areas, as much as possible, and stay in the middle of the footpath; avoid bushes and doorways.
- Never talk to people that you do not know. If someone you do not know speaks to you, just keep on walking. You do not have to answer a stranger.
- If you are asked for directions by someone in a car, keep a safe distance. Do not move close to the car, even if the people in the car claim that they cannot hear you. Walk in the opposite direction to the traffic flow.
- Know your neighbors; remember safe places to go if you need immediate help: shops, service stations, nearby family, friends or acquaintances, local fire and police stations, residences clearly identified as Safety Houses.
- Know the location of public phone boxes in your immediate area in case of an emergency.
- Carry emergency bus or car fare as well as change for a phone call.
- When using a public phone, always phone reverse charges, or in an emergency dial 911 as the call is traceable.
- Never flaunt or brag about your possessions, namely money, bus passes, stereos, expensive clothing, or other possessions. Keep your possessions (for example, wallet) hidden until you need to use them. Don't confide in classmates that you don't know too well about what you have either in your school locker or at home.
- Always (always) tell your parents where you are going and what time you expect to be home.
- Use public rest rooms with caution. If possible, have someone else go in with you.
- If you witness an accident or a crime, do not get involved. Call the police or summon a shopkeeper
- for help. Be prepared to give an accurate description of the incident.
- Never get in an car with anyone you don t know. The same applies to you if you already drive: never allow people you don't know to ride with you. Never pick up hitchhikers.
- Do not take short-cuts through deserted areas, alleyways, abandoned homes, or vacant lots. Walk on busy, main streets (against the flow of the traffic so that you can see the cars as they approach you), not side streets, if possible.
- Never play in empty or abandoned buildings.
- When a grown up (even someone you know and trust) does something to you against your will, tell your parents, your teacher, friends, or a police officer, who are there to help you.
- If you have an interest in taking a self-defense class, inform your parents of this interest. The class will teach you good tactics for defending yourself, and builds good self-confidence too.
Teach your children how to avoid being robbed:
- Be alert on the streets.
- Avoid listening to music on headphones. They are distracting.
- Walk with eyes focused on the surroundings rather than looking down at the pavement, at buildings, at other children.
- Know the danger spots/areas in your neighborhood. Avoid using those areas in order to avoid trouble, even if it means going out of your way.
- Ignore verbal insults which could quickly turn into a physical confrontation.
- If someone asks you for directions or the time, just say I don t know and keep moving on.
- Do not carry large sums of money. If you carry money, keep it in separate locations on you. For example, in a wallet and in your socks.
What to tell children if they sense that they are being followed:
- Cross the street.
- If a car is involved, change direction so it will have to make a U-turn to follow you.
- Vary your pace. Walk faster or jog, if you have to.
- Run towards the nearest well-lit or populated area, shop or service station.
- If possible and if there is someone in the distance, a good tactic is to pretend to see a friend or family member in the distance - wave at them or call out to them. An alternative is to yell Fire rather than Help as it will confuse the assailant and get more direct attention from passersby. If no one is around, it is best not to try this tactic as yelling will tend to provoke the assailant.
What to tell your children if they are confronted:
- Give up your property (possessions or money) right away. Do not fight for it.
- A thief or mugger is nervous and in a hurry. Don't attempt to stop him in any way or he may do something irrational and hurt you.
- Do not act weak or talk or act very tough. This will antagonize the assailant.
- If someone has a knife at your throat or a gun to your head, talk to him in a very soft voice. You are trying to get him to relax and listen to you so that he will only take your property and leave without hurting you.
- Try to stay calm.. Concentrate on getting a description of the mugger (height, weight, age, complexion, hair, clothing and any special characteristics).
- Get away as soon after as possible.
- Report the incident to the police immediately. Call 911
Other prevention tips:
- Never give out specific directions, times, locations of where you or your children are going to be when using a mobile phone, cordless phone, or if your baby-monitor is turned on in your place of residence. These modern forms of communications are wonderful and convenient, but they can be easily picked up on hand-held, radio-frequency, scanners by people listening in (especially in your neighborhood).
- If your children opt to start working part-time at a young age (for example, 15 years of age), make sure to find out everything you can about their job (such as the name of employer or company, time of work, route to work, etc.). If your children are baby-sitters, find out as much as you can about their clients.
- Use parental guidance and good, sound judgment with your children when viewing television programs or movies that include sex and violence. Often the impression that young children (under seven years of age) receive from the media can be a lasting one. Monitor what children are accessing on the Internet also.
- If you are on holiday with your children and you are in a place that is strange to you, keep an eye out for your children, especially young children.
- Never leave young children alone in your car (even if your car is locked) if you have to go into a department store or marketplace, especially on a warm or hot day!
- If you live in a particularly rough neighborhood and you have the means, you might consider getting a dog for your family and children; Fido would not only make a good pet, but also provides good security, many dogs will act protective towards you and your children, or at least warn you when strangers are around.
- Help your children to feel good about themselves and make lots of friends. This is a good defense against schoolyard bullies.
- Encourage your children to tell you about troublesome situations that they have encountered. For example, if your children have been harassed on the playground or in the school s wash room, have them discuss it with you. Inform school authorities, if necessary, and work out with your children the best way of dealing with it.
Children, if faced with serious problems in their lives, often think the best (and maybe the only) solution is to run away from home, thus making them even more vulnerable to crime, abuse and danger. Common reasons why children run away from home:
- Problems at home with the family.
- Parents are too strict.
- Parents are too permissive.
- Parents going through a divorce.
- Emotional, physical, and / or sexual abuse.
- Mental or emotional instability.
- Teen pregnancies.
- Problems with drugs.
- Problems at school (grades, drugs, peer pressure).
How to prevent children from becoming run-aways:
- Children run away for very specific reasons (as listed above). Talk to your children all the time and find out what's going on in their lives. Invite your children to talk to you about whatever might be bothering them.
- Make your children feel that they are part of the family all the time by including them as much as, and whenever, possible in family discussions and decision-making.
- Become familiar with your children's friends and the people with whom they choose to associate.
- Learn to give older children their space and privacy (especially teens).
- Learn to control your emotions if your children do wrong. But explain that it (the wrongdoing on their part) should never happen again.
- Try to instill a routine in younger children's lives by having meals together as a family at the same time every day; by spending quality time together in the evenings and weekends; by discussing issues (world issues, school issues, family issues) as they emerge; by reading the newspaper together; going for a walk together, etc.
- Teach your children good manners and responsibilities. Give them chores to do around the house; remember, good law-abiding citizenship starts right in the home.
- Set ground rules as to what is expected of your children and the consequences (some form of punishment or restrictions) if they choose otherwise.
- Never make punishment severe. Your bark should always be worse than your bite . Remember, these are YOUR children.
- Reward good behavior, but do not go overboard!
- If religion plays a big part in your life, include your children in religious teachings and traditions (and the earlier, the better!).
- Help your children feel good about themselves and make lots of friends. How? Self-esteem and self-defense programs may provide an answer.
- If your children, for whatever reason, choose to run away from home, inform the police immediately and then work with the proper authorities. Also, please refer to a later section in this page on What parents SHOULD ALWAYS do.
Now we turn to the topics of child abuse and neglect. The abused child is one who is assaulted (for example, severely beaten), sexually assaulted, held in close confinement (for example, locked up in a cupboard or tied up), or otherwise mistreated. A neglected child is one who is not receiving the necessary care, lacking adequate supervision or medical assistance, and receiving inadequate nurturing or affection.
What to do if a crime has occurred to your child or children
No matter all the prevention measures and safety precautions that you may take for your children (including those listed in this page), crime can and may still occur. If such an occurrence does take place, how best will you and your child deal with it? Here are some tips for your consideration:
- Report the crime to the police AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
- Never lay blame on the children for the occurrence of the crime. This will only instill feelings of guilt. Instead, reassure the child that he or she has properly handled the situation (especially if no one was hurt as a result).
- Try not to change your family's, and particularly your children's, daily routine. A change in daily routine may be difficult to deal with and become a psychological barrier.
- Try talking to children who have been victims of crime. Get them to open up with their feelings about the incident. Have them describe what happened, with all the details, if possible.
The next section highlights some overall recommendations for parents for protecting children from crime, abuse and danger.
What parents SHOULD ALWAYS do:
- Have a full-face photograph taken of your children at least every six months. On the back of the photos, write the children's sizes, present heights and weights, clothing and shoe sizes. List any distinguishing features, such as birthmarks, scars, etc. Videotaping your children is a good security measure. Professional services in this area are also available. Please consult your telephone directory.
- Keep a list of your children's friends and their address and phone numbers.
- Instruct your children to follow specific safety measures when they are alone, either at home or elsewhere.
- Keep a list of your children's habits, special abilities and shortcomings. When a child does go missing, most parents overlook familiar mannerisms which can be of great importance in identifying the child. List anything about your child that may be unique: a recognizable voice pattern or sound, a stutter, a special laugh, a way of walking or certain expressions that are easily identifiable.
- Know where you child's dental and medical X-rays are kept. If you move, make sure to take them with you.
- Dress your children inconspicuously for school. Do not dress them up in expensive clothing as this will attract attention.
- Never put children's names on their clothing, books, bags and bicycles, where they can be seen. A potential attacker could see the name and pretend to know the child.
How to spot signs of child abuse or neglect:
- Frequent, unexplained injuries, such as bruises, welts, cuts, and burn marks on the body.
- The child refuses you to examine these injuries in detail or to have a medical doctor examine them.
- If a child is seriously injured and is being ignored by the parents, call the police.
- The child may seem excessively fearful of contact, shying away from a hug or a pat on the head.
- The child hints about sexual activity or displays age-inappropriate sexual behavior and fantasies.
- Acting-out, aggressive behavior; sexual play with friends, toys or themselves.
- Regressive behavior; withdrawal; depression; suicidal feelings; attempts to run away from home.
- Lack of trust and poor relationship development, especially with the immediate family members, relatives or friends.
- Sleep disturbances or nightmares, especially in relation to violence or sex.
- Sudden and poor performance in school.
- Sudden excessive weight gain and / or loss.
- You may hear constant screaming at the child by its parent. Verbal abuse can be more emotionally damaging than physical assault. These non-physical, emotional attacks are much more frequent than physical assaults or beatings.
- A neglected child may be left alone for many hours or be outdoors during winter without a coat.
- A neglected child will be roaming the streets late at night.
REMEMBER the law requires that certain people MUST report Child Abuse:- ALL
- Welfare Workers
- You MUST report Child Abuse or YOU commit an offence!
What to do to protect children from abuse:
- Teach safety at home.
- Find out what the school can do to help, not only with programs to teach children about abuse, but through specialists on campus who may be able to recognize the signs of child abuse.
- Make certain that you are among the parents who warn children to be cautious of strangers.
- Make certain that your children tell you (or, if at school, a teacher) about any incidents of improper touching by adults, and by older children as well.
- As soon as your children are able, teach them to use the telephone. Make sure they know how to reach you at home or work.
- Teach your children when to scream for help and run away from a dangerous situation.
- If your child tells a story of abuse, do not dismiss it. It may be genuine. Psychologists conclude that it is very difficult for small children to lie. Furthermore, it is unlikely that a young child would, at least without assistance, create a fantasy involving sexual abuse.
Common sense rules for keeping punishment of young children from turning into abuse:
- Punishment is sometimes used as a means for enforcing discipline. However, discipline can also be enforced by withdrawing certain privileges (for example, their hours of play for a certain period of time), restricting children to their rooms or around the house (in other words, grounding ), or using similar tactics.
- Only a parent, or someone delegated by the parent, should administer punishment.
- In general, children should be punished for acts that they have committed, rather than for their failure to act.
- Punishment should be as soon as possible and fir the wrong doing.
- Regardless of what a child may have done, the punishment handed down should not be so severe that it would cause serious harm, extreme pain and disfigurement, or severe mental duress. Then it becomes "Child Abuse" and you could be subject to the Law.
Assistance you can provide to an abused child:
- If you have an abuse problem or a history of domestic violence, get help from your local Community and Family Services.
- If you know of child abuse or witness it, report it immediately to a child protection agency or the Police.
- If a child needs immediate medical attention, call the police. You do not have to give your name.
- You can also place a call (anonymously, if you wish) to your local child welfare agency.
- Do not inform the abusive parents that you have taken action against them with the authorities.
- Abusive parents have been known to coach a child so that when an investigator appears, everything seems quite normal.
- Observe the child's behavior changes or avoidance of a certain person.
- Never blame the child for what has happened as this will only serve to instill long standing feelings of guilt.
- Get the child to talk about the abuse and assure the child that he or she has acted in the proper way. Also, assure the child that the offender's behavior will not be tolerated and that proper action will be taken against that person. Let the authorities handle the offender.
- The child's daily routine should not be changed too much because of the incident.
- Respect the child's privacy by not telling too many people about the incident. Check with the child first about who you will be telling, but only confide in others (that you trust) if necessary.
Safety tips for teenagers
If you are doing a part-time job or are out in the evenings, be safe:-
- Make sure your parents know where you are
- Go out with friends and come home with them.
- If you go out alone, get a lift or a taxi there and home.
- If your lift/taxi doesn't turn up, use a telephone to find out why and stay until your lift arrives.
- Don't take a lift with someone you've just met.
- If you are looking for casual jobs like baby-sitting, do it through family or friends. If you answer an advert go with a parent or friend on the first day.
If you're baby-sitting, get a number where you can call the child's parents. Don't let strangers into the house. Don't tell telephone callers you are alone. Get them to ring back.
On paper rounds or other collecting, never go into a stranger's house or accept a lift. Wherever you are make sure you know how to make an emergency call and the quickest way out.
If your teenage son or daughter is going out, see they have a lift there and back or take them yourself.
Getting a baby-sitter: It can be difficult to find a good baby-sitter. Sometimes child molesters may advertise themselves as baby-sitters in the hope of getting near children. If you can, avoid using newspapers and try and find someone you know.
Use a friend or member of the family Ask friends if they know anyone If you use a stranger, ask them to put you in touch with someone they have worked for before See if your child reacts badly when you say a baby-sitter they know is coming If you are worried, ring home and speak to your child Be careful of men who are always willing to baby-sit. Give the baby-sitter someone to call in an emergency.
HELP! The police or Family and Services will help you if you think your child has been harmed. If you are worried contact them straight away.
A spot test for your children
Here is a short spot test you can use to find out whether children understand crime prevention and safety. A series of practice exercises are used to teach children what to do when they are on their own and encounter strangers. There is no precise answer to these questions. The best prevention education is role-playing for both parents and children. Use your best judgment when providing answers to children. Start each question by stating: What if ...?
- we are separated in a shopping center? (...at the movies?) (...at the beach?) (...at the football/cricket?). What do you do?
- a stranger offers you lollops, gifts or money if you get into his or her car or house? What do you do?
- a stranger - or a family friend starts fussing with your clothes or touches you in a sensitive area? What do you do?
- someone you do not know asks you for your name and address? What do you do?
- you are waiting outside your school for your parent to pick you up and a stranger comes up to you and says: Your mother got sick and asked me to come pick you up . What do you do? (Hint: teach your children to use code words for emergencies).
- you are at home alone and a stranger knocks on the door claiming he is the TV repairman that your parent(s) had called earlier. What do you do?
- you are home alone and someone phones and says: Hi, is your mother or father home? What do you do? (Hint: teach your children to never let the caller know that they are home alone and to take down messages).
- you are walking down the street and a police officer drives up to you, gets out of his car, and says: Your parents have been involved in a car accident. Get in the car and I'll take you to see them .What do you do? (Hint: instruct the child to ask the police officer for the child's name and address).
- you think you are being followed? What do you do?
- a mugger/s approaches you and wants your bike, watch, or wallet or shoes? What do you do?
You are now more familiar and aware of good Crime prevention and safety measures for children. A lot of these measures simply employ good common "street sense" and logic. Danger lurks everywhere; the best way to handle it is to be prepared with the knowledge of prevention and safety.
"Don't be afraid - be aware"
A Guide To Babysitting: Tips Before Employment
Don't advertise your name in local shops. (Strangers will know your name and telephone number.)
WHEN YOU ARE ASKED TO BABY-SIT
- BE BUSINESSLIKE AND STATE CLEARLY: The days and hours you are able to work. Your experience (e.g. infants - 6 yr. old etc.) What rate of pay you consider to be fair.
- BE CAUTIOUS: Don't accept employment if you do not know the person calling. Ask them who recommended you. Call that person and then call back the employer to confirm dates. Tell your parents if you are suspicious of the employer. Don't hitchhike or accept rides from strangers on the way to the job.
- LEAVE A NOTE FOR YOUR PARENTS REGARDING: Name, address and telephone number where you will be working. Time you expect to be home and how you will get there.
- OBTAIN SPECIFIC INFORMATION: Note parents name, address, and phone number. (Business phone number, if necessary). Ask if they are near bus routes. Number of children and their ages. Transportation and escort that will be provided to and from the job. Even if you only live a few doors away, an escort is desirable. Your parents or employer is responsible to make certain you are home safely.
BABY-SITTING ON THE JOB
- On arrival at children's home obtain complete instructions from parents. Place and phone numbers where parents can be reached. (Both names should be noted i.e. John and Mary Smith).
- Name and phone number of family doctor, friend or trusted neighbor.
- Instructions for incoming phone calls. Point out locations of phones. Place paper and pen by the phone.
- If someone calls, take the message, tell them parents will be home shortly.
- Information about locking doors and windows. Lights to be left on. Bed time rules for baby / older children.
- Special instructions: nap, baby bottle, bedtime snacks, use of radio and television. "Lights out", snacks for sitter.
- Special instructions if tradesmen or visitors are expected. If no instructions are left, do not let anyone in.
WHEN THE PARENTS LEAVE, REMEMBER
YOU ARE THE ACTING PARENT.
YOU ARE IN CHARGE.
GUARD AGAINST STRANGERS
- Check and lock all doors and windows.
- Don't unlock doors for anyone. Except in an emergency.
- If you hear strange noises or see a prowler, or if someone is smashing the door or window, call police at 911.
- Never talk to strangers if you have the children outside. Never let the children out of your sight. If someone bothers you, tell someone - immediately!
IN CASE OF FIRE
- First get the children out of the house. (Don't wait to dress them.) Then call 911 from a neighbors house.
GUARD AGAINST ACCIDENTS
- Pick up toys left on stairs and passageways.
- Be alert to possible child hazards. (medicine / pills, poisons, dangerous utensils, electrical PowerPoint's, matches.)
- Check frequently on children's play. Watch out for mischief, especially if they suddenly become very quiet.
- Do not operate appliances or equipment unless permission is given.
YOU ARE A GUEST
- Take food only if you have permission, eat moderately. Wash dishes you have used.
- Don't smoke unless you have permission.
- Don't "explore". Don't open cupboards or drawers or read personal letters.
- Don't allow friends to visit you while you are sitting, or tell them your whereabouts.
- Avoid making personal phone calls. Keep phone available for incoming calls for parents.
- Don't make gossip comments about the people you are sitting for.
WHEN THE PARENTS RETURN
- Report any unusual incidents with the children, phone calls, or visitors. Accept escort home as planned. However, if escort is intoxicated insist on calling your parents for a ride or take a taxi .
Safety considerations if you need a baby-sitter:
- If you need to use the services of a baby-sitter, take the time to find a baby-sitter who is responsible and trustworthy. Better yet, try to use someone who you or your family knows and trusts. Before you go out, explain your expectations clearly for the baby-sitter. The following are some safety points to consider.
- Give the sitter a telephone number / location where you can be reached.
- Give the sitter the name and number of the family doctor, a neighbor, and a family friend or relative.
- Have phone numbers handy for the Poison Information Center and Police / Fire / Ambulance.
- Instruct the baby-sitter on how to deal with phone calls and visitors. Never allow the baby-sitter to invite friends to your residence when he or she is baby-sitting.
- Demonstrate to the baby-sitter how to lock doors and windows, and how to operate your security system, if necessary.
- Ask the baby sitter to keep the phone free in case you want to check on the children.
- Call your baby-sitter at least once when you are away (especially in the evening).
- Instruct the baby-sitter as to where your children are allowed to play in the yard and neighborhood and what areas to avoid.
- Show where medication and poisonous chemicals are kept so that the baby-sitter can keep children away from them.
- Leave instructions about what to do in case of fire, have a plan.
- When you return, ask the baby-sitter to tell you about any phone calls, visitors, or unexpected events.
- Be considerate of your baby-sitter's needs as well. Ensure that his or her parents know your address and phone number, and the time they can expect their child to be at home. At the end of the evening, offer the baby-sitter a ride home, or provide a taxi and fare.
"What can I do about Domestic Violence?"
One out of every four women in this state will suffer some kind of violence at the hands of her husband or boyfriend.
Very few will tell anyonenot a friend, a relative, a neighbor, or the police.
Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of lifeall cultures, all income groups, all ages, all religions. They share feelings of helplessness, isolation, guilt, fear, and shame. All hope it wont happen again, but often it does. Domestic Violence is a Crime!
Are you abused?
Does the person you love...
- Track all of your time?
- Constantly accuse you of being unfaithful?
- Discourage your relationships with family and friends?
- Prevent you from working or attending group meetings or school?
- Criticize you for little things?
- Anger easily when drinking alcohol or taking drugs?
- Control all the finances and force you to account in detail for what you spend?
- Humiliate you in front of others?
- Destroy personal property or sentimental items?
- Hit, punch, slap, kick, or bite you or the children?
- Use, or threaten to use, a weapon against you?
- Threaten to hurt you or the children?
- Force you to engage in sex against your will?
If you answer yes to even a few of these questions, its time to get help!
If you are hurt, what can you do?
There are no easy answers, but there are things you can do to protect yourself:
- Call the police or . Assault, even by family members, is a crime. The police often have information about shelters and other agencies that help victims of domestic violence.
- Leave, or have someone come stay with you. Go to a womans shelteryou can call a crisis hotline in your community, or a health center, to locate a shelter. If you believe that you and your children are in danger, leave immediately!
- Get medical attention from your doctor or a hospital emergency room. Ask the staff to photograph your injuries and keep detailed records in case you decide to take legal action.
Don't Ignore the problem?
- Contact your Local Court or Police Domestic Violence Officer for information about a Domestic Violence Order.
- Talk to someone. Part of the abusers power comes from secrecy. Victims are often ashamed to let anyone know about intimate family problems. Go to a friend or neighbor, or call a domestic-violence hotline to talk to a counselor.
- Plan ahead and know what you will do if you are attacked again. If you decide to leave, choose a place to go, and set aside some money. Put important papers togethermarriage license, birth certificates, checkbooks, savings account books, social security cards, insurance informationin a place where you can get them quickly.
- Learn to think independently. Try to plan for the future and set goals for yourself.
Have you hurt someone in your family?
- Accept the fact that your violent behavior will destroy your family. Be aware that you break the law when you physically hurt someone.
- Take responsibility for your actions and get help.
- When you feel tension building, get away. Work off the angry energy through a walk, a project, or a sport.
- Call a domestic-violence hotline or a health center and ask about counseling & support groups for people who batter.
The high costs of domestic violence!
- Men and women who follow their parents example and use violence to solve conflicts are teaching the same destructive behavior to their children.
- Jobs can be lost or careers halted as a result of injuries, arrests, or harassment.
- Lives can be lostviolent behavior often leads to death!
Take a stand!
- Reach out to someone you believe is a victim of family violence, or to someone you think is being abusive. Dont give up easilychanges take time. Ending the familys isolation is a critical first step.
- Use organizations and businesses to raise community awareness by hosting speakers on domestic violence, launching public-education campaigns, and raising funds for shelters and hotlines.
- Ask the local newspaper, radio station, or TV station to examine the problem and publicize resources in the community through special features and forums.
- Form coalitions or watchdog groups to monitor the responses of local law-enforcement agencies and courts. Offer praise where appropriate and demand reform when necessary.
- Most communities offer resources for victims of family violence. Check your telephone directory or ask you local police station, they will have a domestic violence officer you can talk to.
Keeping Young People away from Crime
A good deal of crime is committed by young people - one third of all known offenders are under 17. Mostly it is against property - 40 per cent of offenders dealt with for theft from shops and 35 per cent of those dealt with for burglary of premises other than dwellings were juveniles. Fortunately, most will stop offending as they grow older; but there is no need simply to wait and hope.
By following the advice elsewhere in this website you, your family, your neighbors will be less likely to become a victim of juvenile crime. But it makes sense to find ways of steering your people away from crime and other anti-social behavior in the first place. They need alternative outlets for their energy and imagination. In many areas, this point is already well recognized - by parents, teachers, youth workers for example - who are working, often together, to provide these alternatives. Although its precise effects on the crime rate cannot be measured, its value in this context is not in doubt. It is supported, and sometimes proved, by Government, local authorities and the police. Charities and voluntary organizations play a major role in the provision of constructive activities for young people, for example the YMCA, Boy/Girls Scouts, and many local groups. But whether or not they receive help in this way, youth work schemes will only be successful if they have the goodwill and help of people in the communities where the activities are based.
If you care about young people, as well as about crime, you will want to consider how you can help. Many very worthwhile projects need sponsorship, equipment or accommodation; and may also have continual need for volunteers to work with young people, especially those who can pass on a skill or interest.
Alternatively, you may be someone who recognizes a need for some kind of activity for young people that is not available in your area. Whether acting as an individual, a parent, businessman, teacher, somebody with a skill or interest or as a part of a group - if you have an idea for something that can do or provide, contact your Neighborhood Watch Committee or Crime Prevention officer to discuss it.
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