Armed against stranger danger

25th February 2000 at 00:00
AN INITIATIVE to protect children from attack by boosting their self confidence was launched by education minister Jacqui Smith this week.

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust and the National Confederation of Parent-Teacher Associations will provide schools with "SafeWise" packs containing a book, video, and leaflets.

The information, aimed at parents, teachers and children, was launched in the House of Commons on Tuesday at a ceremony attended by Diana Lamplugh, mother of Suzy, the 25-year-old estate agent who disappeared in 1986 after meeting a client.

The pack balances safety tips, such as how to deal with strangers and avoid giving away personal details on the telephone, with advice on taking a gap year, applying for jobs, and going out clubbing.

The trust believes that encouraging young people to be confident about taking on life's adventures is an important part of making them less vlnerable.

A trust spokeswoman said: "We are trying to build children's communication skills and increase their confidence about going out and playing their part in the world independently.

"The aim is to increase personal safety but you don't do that by children being closeted."

NCPTA director Dave Butler said: "We believe it will have a hugely positive impact on schools throughout the UK."

Jacqui Smith said: "SafeWise will complement the work the Government is doing on introducing the concept of risk and health and safety awareness in the new personal, social and health education framework.

"It also fits in with the work of the school transport advisory group, of which the NCPTA is a core member."

There will be 11,000 packs, of which 5,000 will be distributed free to schools by the NCPTA, with sponsorship from the HSBC bank. The rest will cost pound;27.50 each.

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