Wednesday 17 January 2018

Warning children of 'stranger danger' is not enough

It is not enough to tell children to be wary of strangers. Picture posed by a model (Photo: Thinkstock)
It is not enough to tell children to be wary of strangers. Picture posed by a model (Photo: Thinkstock)

Denis Naughten

The sentencing last week of an individual who viciously assaulted two young children has once again brought to the fore many parents' fear of "stranger danger": that someone could abduct and assault a vulnerable child.

However, the reality is that the majority of such offences are not carried out by a stranger but by someone who has already built up trust with a child or, indeed, in many cases with the whole family.

So warning children not to talk to strangers is simply not enough. Likewise, relying on garda vetting of the so-called "sex offenders' register", so that those who pose a risk will not have access to children, does not address the problem.

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