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Teens 'most at risk' from sex predators

Teens 'most at risk' from sex predators

Tue August 21, 2012 10:00pm

TEENAGERS are especially vulnerable to sex predators because they might not tell their parents where they are or what they were doing.

That's the warning from eminent UniSA child safety expert Freda Briggs.

Emeritus Professor Briggs said it was important for older children to have all the skills needed to protect themselves when parents were not present, citing a case of two girls who had been assaulted when they "wagged" school.

"They dared not tell anyone because they were afraid to be punished for wagging school and so were isolated," Professor Briggs said.

Prof Briggs will today blog on adelaidenow about the dangers of child abuse after an overwhelming reaction to revelations the traditional "stranger danger" message was still being used by parents despite being outdated.

<a href="http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=bb8ad44a5a" >How to keep your kids safe</a>

Police are hunting the person who indecently assaulted a girl, 4, behind Prospect Oval on Monday, which prompted Prof Briggs' warning about updating the "stranger danger" message.

Police yesterday backed her call for a more modern approach by parents to the dangers of sexual deviants.

State Crime Prevention Branch Sen-Sgt Neil Hodgson said police visited schools daily to educate children that there were responsible adults and safe havens - such as schools and businesses - they could go to if attacked or feeling vulnerable.

A four-year-old girl was assaulted at this park behind Prospect Oval yesterday morning. Picture: Tricia Watkinson

"I wouldn't say every stranger represents danger and that's why we don't use the term (stranger danger) when we educate young people through our school programs any more," Sen-Sgt Hodgson said.

"We really want to educate young children there are community members who are safe - police for example - and parents should be educating their children to approach police if they feel vulnerable or threatened.

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