Gransnet forums


Adults to wary to help little girls?

(44 Posts)
Aka Tue 25-Mar-14 16:36:39

Channel 5 tonight 6.30 pm Little Girl Lost.

Two young girls (7 and 5) were ignored by passers bye for over and hour in a busy shopping centre when they took it in turns to pretend to be lost as part of an experiment.

It took a grandmother to stop and ask if help was needed.

Aka Tue 25-Mar-14 16:43:18

Sorry for typo...should read 'Adults too wary' shock

NfkDumpling Tue 25-Mar-14 16:49:12

As a grandmother I would feel happy to help a child in distress. DH on the other hand said he would be far more wary and would certainly not consider any physical contact - unless the child was bleeding profusely!

FlicketyB Tue 25-Mar-14 17:01:11

I wouldn't hesitate to step forward and speak to a child - and have done so in the past.

janeainsworth Tue 25-Mar-14 17:04:48

I wouldn't hesitate either - in fact in M&S last week in Stafford with DD a little toddler was wandering about quite alone, apparently.
I bent down to speak to him when his panic-stricken mother appeared!

Ana Tue 25-Mar-14 17:09:36

You'd think most women would try to help - I can understand why men would think twice. I can't believe that so few people in a crowded shopping area bothered to stop and ask either of those children whether she was lost - there must have been plenty of young mums around! sad

whenim64 Tue 25-Mar-14 17:10:06

I would speak to the child and hope that others would do the same with my little grandchildren. It's easy enough to draw in one or two other passers-by who could assist and witness attempts to help the child.

POGS Tue 25-Mar-14 18:32:12

The Daily Mail covered the channel 5 show with pictures and the little girls looked so lost. I don't think I would have hesitated to ask if they were OK. Can't remember the exact figure but it was something like 600+ ignored them, if I remember correctly.

Quite sad isn't it.

Mishap Tue 25-Mar-14 19:05:53

I once ran a workshop for young Travellers - the youngest about 5. She went off to the loo and asked me to wipe her bottom. Well - it's a job I have done many a time and oft and I had no problem with it, but I must admit I thought about what the repercussions could be these days.

MiniMouse Tue 25-Mar-14 19:06:41

This was talked about on Radio Sussex today. What a sad world we live in at times! If passers-by are worried about accusations if they approach a child, they could stay with the child and dial 101, the police non-emergency number (assuming they have a mobile), just to cover themselves. At least that way the child is not left alone and vulnerable.

Ana Tue 25-Mar-14 19:11:50

I'm assuming (hopefully!) that if the child had been dragged away screaming and crying by a person they didn't seem to know, someone would have at least called the Police!

granjura Tue 25-Mar-14 19:22:31

I would stay and watch, keep an eye for a couple of minutes- then no hesitation in talking to them and doing whatever is required to help.

penguinpaperback Tue 25-Mar-14 19:26:32

Yes I'm sure I would do the same. I couldn't walk away and hope someone eventually intervened. What a sad world.

Tegan Tue 25-Mar-14 19:59:44

I was at my grandsons preschool last year and a little girl came and stood next to me when they were reading the story at the end. I automatically put her on my lap and then worried about it for days afterwards. I suppose what I'd do with a lost child now would be to speak to them but call 999 on my mobile at the same time to cover myself [if I a; had it with me and b; it was charged up blush].

JessM Tue 25-Mar-14 20:21:36

I always speak to lost looking children.
e.g. in a supermarket - "call your mummy now in a big loud voice and she will come"

Most recently in M and S loos in Liverpool there was a queue. A little west indian girl, about 6, was hovering anxiously while a succession of older women dived for cubicles and ignored her. I asked her was she waiting for her mummy. "No I'm with my uncle" she whispered. I pointed out the next empty cubicle, bless her.

Ana Tue 25-Mar-14 20:23:35


bikergran Tue 25-Mar-14 20:43:30

I would ask for another person to stand with me and then talk to the child/children so then I would have a witness/s

storynanny Tue 25-Mar-14 21:42:47

Yes I agree with getting another person involved as a witness.
We did a lot of stranger danger talk when I was teaching infants full time and Used to tell them to stand still for a little while or go in a shop and ask someone in a uniform or behind a counter. When I come across little ones lost, i stand still with them and ask another adult to call for assistance. I would never just pass on by.

granjura Tue 25-Mar-14 21:54:30

I feel so blessed and privileged to now live in a country where children do not see every adult as a peadophile- so sad. Teachers here still will hold the kids when upset, even put them on their knee at primary school and caress their hair to pacify them. The huge majority of attacks on children are done by family members and friends, NOT strangers.

I help regularly at the local primary school, and it is so refreshing to see. I even went camping with them, and had 6 girls aged 7 in my tent, whom I'd never met.

granjura Tue 25-Mar-14 21:56:12

If the fear of being accused means little kids are left lost on the streets and in huge danger, things have just gone too far- and we've lost the plot. Sad, tragic even.

Aka Tue 25-Mar-14 22:27:19

This was a coroners report, local to us in 2006,

The report offers up the tragic example of a three-year-old from Warwickshire who drowned in a pond after she escaped from her nursery.
An inquest into her death in 2006 heard that a bricklayer had passed the toddler by as she wandered the road alone. He failed to stop and help her - fearing people might think that he was trying to abduct the little girl.
In his summing-up the coroner described the incident as a "sad reflection" on society - but said people "may well understand the circumstances”.


penguinpaperback Tue 25-Mar-14 23:03:57

I remember reading about that Aka tragic case.
I was always told to ask a lady or a Policeman for help when small. I had such freedom growing up, we would take off on our bikes with a sandwich for lunch in our anorak pocket.

janeainsworth Tue 25-Mar-14 23:07:15

Granjura I think even British children are sensible enough to realise that not every adult is a paedophile.

thatbags Wed 26-Mar-14 06:37:47

I once helped a little girl at DD's nursery class to put some clean knickers on after her others had got wet – just held them for her while she stepped into them with her hand on my shoulder. Didn't think anything of it until the nursery teacher, very embarassed, came "to speak to me" about it. It wasn't allowed. Parents were not to "change" children. I understood she was upholding a rule and only reflected that it was sad that her common sense and the fact that she'd known me for twenty years had to be suppressed under The Rule.

It's easy to see why people are sometimes reluctant to do the obvious kind or helpful thing.

jura, British children do not think every other adult is a paedophile. It's the adults who are afraid – of being accused of wrongdoing or of having wrong motives.

NfkDumpling Wed 26-Mar-14 07:06:00

I suppose it depends on the circumstances. Here, in a small market town where people stop and chat at every opportunity, scooping up a child who had fallen over and popping it back on it's feet wouldn't be out of place and no one would turn a hair. Do the same in a big city where the child may not be of the same culture, religion or speak the same language could lead to all sorts of problems.
A formal situation like a nursery or school needs strict and necessary rules to give parents and institutions peace of mind. DGD2 is picked up and dropped off at her nursery by her dad. He's a bit of a boffin, lovely but not chatty and doesn't know any of the other parents - not one!
I caught a bit on Radio Four yesterday which said that up until the mid 1800s villages had on average only 150 souls (many related). In towns and cities streets would clump together into similar sized communities. Move outside your community and Stranger Danger applied just as it does today.