Your Family


Crime Prevention


Your Practical Guide To Crime Prevention – Your Family


Your family: young Children
(under 11)

Kidscape is a national charity working to prevent
bullying and child sexual abuse. This is what they
recommend to help you keep your children safe:

To be safe.
Tell your children they have the right to be safe.
No-one can take that away.

To be believed.
If your child wants your help, they need to know
they will be believed and supported. This is
especially true in the case of sexual assault, as
children rarely lie about it.

To protect their own bodies.
Children must know that their bodies belong to
them, especially the private parts covered by
their swimsuits.

Try not to
have secrets.

Child molesters that the child knows often say
that a kiss or a touch is ‘our secret’. Tell your
children that some secrets should never be kept,
even if they said they wouldn’t tell.

To say no.
Tell your children that it’s all right to say
‘no’ if someone tries to hurt them. A lot of
children are told to always do what grown-ups tell

To refuse touches.
Tell your children they can say no to touching or
kissing if they don’t like it. If someone touches
them and tells them to keep it a secret, they must
tell you. Never force your child to hug or kiss

To get help against bullies.
Bullies pick on younger, more vulnerable children.
Tell children to get friends to help them, and to
say no without fighting. Make sure they tell a
grown-up. Tell them to give up something a bully
wants, such as a bike, if they are going to get
hurt. Tell them you will not be angry if they come
home without it.

Try not to
talk to strangers.

Most well- meaning adults will not approach a
child who is on their own, unless they are
obviously lost or distressed. Tell your children
never to talk to strangers, and to politely ignore
any approach from a stranger. Get them to tell you
if a stranger tries to talk to them.

To tell.
Tell your children they must always tell you what
has happened and that you will not be angry with

To break rules.
Tell your children they can break rules to stay
safe. They can run away, scream, lie or kick to
get away from danger.

Children are more likely to be the victims of abuse
in the home, or from someone else they know, and can be
as traumatised witnessing domestic violence as children
who are physically abused themselves.


Children are also at risk from other children, most
commonly in the form of bullying, although they can also
be bullied by an adult.

For more information on bullying:

If you are being bullied, you can phone ChildLine on
0800 1111 or visit
their website
for advice.

The internet

The internet is very much a part of our lives these
days, and provides a useful educational tool for adults
and children.

But there is adult material on the internet which is
not suitable for children. Your Internet Service
Provider (ISP) may be able to advise you on filters
which prevent children accessing adult or unsuitable

Keeping computers in family areas (not in a child’s
bedroom) also gives you some level of surveillance over
how they are using the internet.

Chat rooms are often a fun way for children to gain
social skills, ‘meet’ new friends and improve their
computer and literacy skills. But they are can be
misused, and this can pose a threat.

When they use chat rooms, encourage your children to:

  • never give out personal information, or their
    email address;

  • arrange to meet someone in the chat room if they
    get on well with them, rather than contacting them

  • use a ‘moderated’ chat room, where someone
    ‘referees’ � this protects them from abusive

If they become so friendly with someone they chat to
on-line that they want to meet in person, you should
always go with them. Arrange to meet in a public place
where there are lots of people around. Children and
teenagers should never arrange to meet anyone they have
met on-line without a responsible adult being with them.

For more information:

You can also get a copy of the Home Office leaflet ‘Keeping
your child safe on the internet

Your family: teenagers and young

The same rules apply to teenagers and young people as
to other people about staying safe when they are out and

Helping your children to be independent is a vital
part of growing up, but they must also know how to look
after themselves.

Young people are more likely to be the victims of
theft and assault than any other age group. They are
also the least likely to report a crime against them.
Being honest with your children, and encouraging them to
be honest with you, will help. You should ask them to
tell you if they are in trouble, or if they have
experienced any crime. Talk to them about ways to stay
safe when they are out and about.

Make sure they know the risks of what they are doing
� taking drugs or drinking, going out and meeting new

‘Date Rape’

Being open with teenagers about relationships and sex
can be difficult � for you and them. But an open
relationship will make things better for both of you if
something does go wrong.

There are a lot of pressures to become sexually
active, and it is important that young people know they
do not have to do anything they are not happy with.

Most rape happens between people who already know
each other � it is rare to be raped by a stranger.

Sometimes, drugs are used to make people easier to
rape. This is usually through ‘spiking’ drinks, whether
with a pharmaceutical-type drug, or with stronger
alcohol. The best way to guard against this is to keep
your drink with you, drink out of a bottle and make sure
that you take your drink straight from the bar staff.

See the advice on rape
for what to do if you (or a member of your family) are

Your family: Domestic Violence

Unfortunately, women are more likely to be at risk in
the home than outside it, and statistics show that one
in four women experience domestic violence in their

Men also experience violence at home, the same advice
applies to them. The
Women’s Aid Helpline
will be able to refer you to
services for men experiencing domestic violence.

There are many different ways to experience domestic

  • Physically (being hit)

  • Sexually (rape or degrading treatment)

  • Emotionally or psychologically (being told you
    are a bad person, that you are worthless)

  • Financially (having money withheld, or being
    forbidden from getting a job)

  • Socially (not being allowed to see friends and
    family or go out)

However you experience domestic violence, it almost
always gets worse over time.

It is not your fault, and you do not deserve it.

You (and your children) have the right to live free
from fear and harm. This is true whatever your race,
age, background or religion and whether you are married
or living with your partner. In some cases, the violence
continues (and gets worse) after the relationship has

Domestic Violence is a Crime.

What you can do:

  • If you are experiencing domestic violence, you
    may feel like you have nowhere to go, or no-one to
    turn to. This is not true. There are a lot of
    organisations who can help you.

  • You may report your partner to the police, and
    try to have them kept away from you, your children
    or your house.

  • You may decide to leave the house and go to a
    friend’s or relative’s house, or to a refuge or
    hostel for women.

  • If you decide to leave, try to take things like
    passports or other identification, your children’s
    birth certificates, and bank and benefit details.

For more information:

Phone the Women’s Aid Helpline on: 0645 702 3468 or visit
the Women’s Aid website

Your family: Alcohol

Alcohol is a part of British life (particularly
British social life) and is not generally considered
harmful in moderation. But alcohol can lead to problems.

Drinking a lot of alcohol can be bad for your health.

Drinking can also lead to other crimes. Drinking and
driving results in many deaths every year.

Drunkenness can lead to disorder and violence, both
in public and at home. Fifty times more people die from
drinking every year than from all illegal drugs put

Alcohol and young people

It is illegal to buy alcohol if you are under 18, and
drinking can cause health problems in young people.

But there is a lot of social pressure to drink.

Discuss drinking with your children, but be aware
that they will see you as a role model too.

Try to set a good example with how you use alcohol.

For more information:

The alcohol concern website:

Your local doctor will also be able to help.

Your family: Drugs

Most drugs are illegal, and so taking or possessing
them is a crime.

But drugs can lead to other crimes too, for example,
stealing money to pay for drugs, crimes committed whilst
on drugs (for example driving under the influence of
drugs, or antisocial behaviour), and supplying others
with drugs (dealing).

It is important to know that the penalties for
dealing in a drug are much more severe than the
penalties for possessing small amounts of that drug for
personal use.

Young people and drugs

Talk to your children about drugs from an early age.
It is important that they know they can be honest with
you. If they tell you they are taking drugs, do not
panic. One sort of drug use does not necessarily lead to
another, or to a life of crime. Research shows that most
young people grow out of taking drugs after a while.

In an emergency

If you suspect someone has taken an overdose:

  • If they are unconscious, or vomiting a lot phone
    999 for an ambulance.

  • Put them in the recovery position if they are
    unconscious (lie them on one side with a cushion
    behind them, bring their knees forward and point
    their head downward).

  • Make sure there is good ventilation in the room,
    and that there are no obstructions in their mouth.

  • Speak calmly and reassuringly to them, telling
    them that help is on its way.

  • When the ambulance arrives, tell them what has
    happened, and what drugs they have taken, if you
    know. Neither you nor the person who has overdosed
    will get in trouble for telling them this.


Solvents are things like glue and aerosols. They are
not illegal and can make you ‘high’. However,
shopkeepers may not sell solvents to people under 18, if
they believe they may inhale them. They are also very
dangerous. If you suspect someone has been using
solvents, and it is an emergency, follow the same steps
as for drugs.

For more information:

Phone the National Drugs Helpline on 0800 776600 or visit
the National Drugs Helpline website


Last update:  16/09/03

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