In light of the recent attempted kidnapping of a child at a restaurant in Johannesburg, Missing Children SA is appealing to parents to be incredibly vigilant with their children. The NGO warns that they see a yearly increase in children going missing.
Last week, South Africans were shocked by a video shared to socials showing the brazen attempted kidnapping of a child. In the video, a man is seen jumping over a balustrade and grabbing a child sitting with two other women. A woman grabs on to the child preventing the man from taking her, and then another man grabs hold of the suspect so he doesn’t getaway. A scuffle then breaks out and the suspect is wrestled to the ground.
Speaking to the SABC, National Coordinator of Missing Children SA, Bianca van Aswegen says parents need to be extra vigilant.
“We as an organisation see a yearly increase in our caseload when it comes to children going missing as well as kidnappings happening, we as an organisation have dealt with about almost 400 cases already just for this year. Parents really need to be vigilant, also dress your child in brightly coloured clothes when in a public and down at the beaches so they easily spotted in a crowd.
“The communities need to be vigilant. If there is someone that doesn’t seem to need to be there or out of place please report it immediately. If your child goes missing it needs to be reported immediately there is no 24 hour waiting period. ”
What to do if your child goes missing
– Try not to panic.
– Don’t wait 24 hours to report your missing child.
– Do a quick search to check whether your child is really missing. Contact their friends, school, neighbours, etc.
– Get a responsible person to stay at your house while you’re at the police station or searching for your child. This person can take messages if someone calls about the child’s disappearance or if the child returns home.
– Go to your nearest police station and take a recent photograph of the child with you. Make sure that the photograph is of good quality so that your child will be easily identifiable.
– Give a good description of what the child was wearing, their last whereabouts and any information that may help the police.
– You’ll have to complete a SAPS 55 (A) form which safeguards the police against false or hoax reports. This form also gives the Police permission to distribute the photo and information of the missing child.
– Make sure the police give you a reference number and contact name and number of the SAPS officer(s) assigned to the investigation.
– Remember that if your child returns home, you’ll have to go to the police station to report that the child is safe.
Missing Children SA advises parents to help kids memorise important numbers that may help them in the event of a crisis. Important numbers to remember include: