Some months ago, I posted about one of my daughter’s being attacked at a local shopping centre. (An event that still disturbs her from time to time.)
Now there is an alert out about Strange Danger in the area. I am sure it is common to remind younger children of the danger of strangers but less so you average 6th former. However, it turns out that was an attempted abduction (an attempt to drag a girl into a car) and this took place on the same road as my children walk home-alone on! There are two other worrying reports of problems in the area.
You can imagine the impact this has had. Some kids are dismissive about it, others freaked out. Mine was somewhat in denial, at least on the surface.
We did ask out kids to consider walking home and back together but this is not going to happen. There is greater risk from them falling out and one of them walking in front of a car than there is of any kind of abduction.
The mornings are not an issue as a group of friends swing by and collect one of them on the walk to school. The other is usually slightly ahead. Plenty of people are around.
Returning home is a more staggered affair with many kids choosing to spend some time in town with friends before returning home.
We have to resort to awareness, not looking like a victim and, possibly, carrying a rape-alarm (although the risk of this going off accidentally in class seems to be a bigger concern that the danger of abduction).
Hopefully the police will catch the individual concerned soon. Still, to some extent the danger always exists.
The school are offering some self-defence classes to some of the girls to help them out. Not sure whether this is just a confidence thing or not. Time will tell.