Children and Parents are reminded of being ‘Stranger Smart’
Children and parents are reminded how to stay safe going to and from school using “Stranger Smart”, an initiative launched in May, by The Highland Council and Police Scotland.
The initiative is to ensure that
children, young people, parents, carers, teachers and Police are all working
together to ensure that children know how to stay safe if approached by
The Council and Police Scotland have worked with schools, parents and the Safe Strong and Free organisation to produce Stranger Smart information and guidance and the leaflet will be reissued to parents of children who have just started the new term.
The project also set out a protocol for schools, the Council and Police on how they will deal with any reports of concern.
Councillor Fiona Robertson, Vice Chair of the Council’s Education, Children and Adult Services Committee welcomed the reminder of the initiative, she said: “Whilst Highland is one of the safest places to live in the UK, we need to remain vigilant to ensure that all our children and young people feel and remain safe. Stranger Smart gives clear guidance to children and families on what children should do if approached by a stranger.
“Often ‘stranger danger’ reports turn out to have innocent explanations, but the Stranger Smart advice and protocol will hopefully help children and parents understand what they should do and ensure a quick response to any concerns. Children’s safety is everyone’s responsibility.”
The Stranger Smart leaflet outlines how to keep children and young people safe and how they can be ‘Stranger Smart’. The leaflet gives advice to parents and carers and their children on what they should do if approached by a stranger on the way to and from school or while they are ‘out and about’. The leaflet will be sent home with pupils over the coming weeks, following class discussions, and parents and carers of all primary-aged school children are encouraged to talk through the leaflet with their child.
Guidance and a joint protocol between The Highland Council and Police Scotland has been produced for Head Teachers to advise them on what to do if they are informed by a pupil or parent/carer that they (or their child) has been approached by a stranger. Schools have also been provided with simple messages for pupils to help teachers explain in assemblies or classes to pupils how they can be Stranger Smart.
There is also a You Tube video which highlights the key messages for children.
Julian Innes, Chief Superintendent, Police Scotland, Highland & Islands Division said: “Keeping children and young people safe is at the heart of what we do in the Highlands. Stranger Smart sends out 3 key messages: that while incidents involving suspicious persons are rare, it is important that we all work together and quickly to make sure that we get it right; that Police Scotland are notified at the earliest opportunity when an incident occurs; and that it's everyone's responsibility to keep children and young people safe.”
The leaflet for parents was designed in consultation with Crown Primary school Parent Council and ‘Safe Strong and Free’.
The Stranger Smart leaflet for parent/carers, children and young people along with the “Joint protocol Guidance for Head Teachers on Suspicious persons / pupil approached by stranger” can be found on the council’s website at: www.highland.gov.uk/strangersmart
The You Tube video can be seen at: https://youtu.be/HFCOKEv_4m4