Child Approached – Villawood
Police are appealing for assistance after a child was approached in Sydney’s south west on Wednesday (13 November).
About 4.30pm a five-year-old girl was outside her home on Gurrawillie Street, Villawood, when a vehicle described as a white Mitsubishi van stopped outside the house.
The driver spoke to the girl and attempted to entice her into the vehicle.
The girl ran inside and told her parents what happened.
The driver of the van is described as a male with dark skin, skinny build and long hair. At the time he was wearing a pink shirt and brown jeans.
Due to the girl’s tender age Police were unable to obtain a clear description of the incident immediately after the incident.
Meanwhile, the incident has prompted Police to issue the following general safety advice and tips for children and parents.
GENERAL SAFETY ADVICE
- Parents should be alert to the safety of their children and where they are at all times.
- It is recommended that, where possible, children are escorted to and from school by an adult. If this is not possible, they should walk in groups with other children.
- Parents should walk the route to and from school with their children. Make sure it is the safest way to travel and, if possible, use busier roads and streets or paths where other people are likely to be. Avoid back lanes and short cuts through isolated areas.
- Talk to your child about where they should go if something happens to them such as a shop, service station, police station or school. Teach children buildings that are ‘safe’, like the police station with the blue check symbol.
- Use common signs to help children identify ‘safe adults’ they can approach for help. For example, the police blue checked square, their own doctor’s surgery, a library, an information sign at a shopping centre or a hospital if there is one close to home or school.
- Parents and caregivers should encourage their children to develop some simple prevention strategies that can apply across a range of situations to help the child know what to do.
- Always tell your children if someone other than you is going to pick them up from school. If your child is in a childcare centre, always inform the staff if someone other than yourself will be collecting the child.
- Tell your children to avoid talking to people they don’t know, including people in cars that pull over to the side of the road, and instil in them that they should never go anywhere or get into a car with someone they don’t know.
- These strategies should never replace adequate supervision but will assist a child when he or she is unsure what to do and help develop personal strengths to respect their own body and space.
- Child abduction is very rare in NSW.
- The Child Protection and Sex Crimes Squad monitor reports of attempted abduction or abduction on a state-wide basis.
- Police take reports of these matters very seriously and conduct investigations into each of them. Reported suspicious behaviour can sometimes be misinterpreted by children.
- Reports of attempted abductions have increased in recent times. An explanation for this could be that children, parents, teachers and the community have become more vigilant to the possibility of abduction attempts and are more likely to make official reports.
- Increased level of reporting from the community sometimes coincides with increased media reports of possible abduction attempts.
NSW Police thoroughly investigate each and every incident of reported attempted abduction of children. We take a “better safe than sorry” approach to all reports of suspicious activity around children and will thoroughly investigate any reports.
We encourage all members of the community to report suspicious activity to police when they see it. It assists police greatly if reports are made promptly and that as much detail as possible can be provided about the descriptions of suspects and their vehicles are noted.
In particular, the provision of vehicle registration numbers allows the rapid resolution of matters.
Anyone with information that can assist investigators in relation to the Villawood incident is urged to contact Bankstown Police via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.