Keith Blake, Ottery
One of the most savage and terrifying crimes a criminal can commit is to lure a minor, no matter whether it is a boy or a girl, from the protection and care of their parents or guardians. Time and again the headlines scream out the pain, anguish, heartache and terror of parents whose minor children have gone missing.
When children go missing, the community and government departments do their utmost to find the child. All relevant information is followed up and everyone waits for an outcome.
In this vein one has to almost salute parents who ensure that their children are safe and these parents have precautions in place, whether the child is in their presence or with other people elsewhere. But sadly there are those parents who make major mistakes with their children’s safety and one sees it almost daily all around us.
There are many mistakes these parents make but I want to just highlight a few when it comes to children going missing. There is a careless habit of sending minors on all kinds of errands on their own, whether to the shop or to fetch an item or something from a neighbour or a family just up the road, or around the corner. There is this notion that minors can walk alone to and from school or minors can go and play with other children in a park or on a field just up the road. The very sad part of these mistakes is that as these children go about their neighbourhood without supervision then no one takes note of it.
It is then almost seen as normal or not their business, until that minor goes missing, then one and all becomes concerned and caring and in most cases that is much too late.
We as parents and family and neighbours must make it our business when we see a minor roaming without supervision and ensure that they get back into the care of the family. The parents must inform minors on a daily basis the safety rules and regulations they must comply with and parents or guardians must stop that big mistake of sending minors on errands or on tasks outside their supervision.
Rather you or an adult do that errand yourself and keep children in the safety of your home.
A quote by Nelson Mandela: “Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.”