ON GUARD: This Alstonville mum says her 11-year-old daughter and a friend were approached by a suspicious man. The comments follow news of two girls being approached by a stranger at Byron. Police have warned parents to be alert.
ON GUARD: This Alstonville mum says her 11-year-old daughter and a friend were approached by a suspicious man. The comments follow news of two girls being approached by a stranger at Byron. Police have warned parents to be alert. Jamie Brown

Stranger alert

PARENTS are being warned to alert their kids to the danger of strangers after a series of disturbing incidents on the Northern Rivers and elsewhere in the state.

St Finbarr's Catholic Primary School issued a warning in its school newsletter this week after two girls, aged about 12, who were approached by a man in a car while they were waiting to be picked up from a bus stop near the school.

At the same time an Alstonville mother has raised the alarm with parents in her town, saying her 11-year-old daughter and a friend were approached by a man in a green car.

And police have issued a state-wide alert offering advice to parents on how to protect their children after another 12-year-old girl was approached by a man at Wollongong.

St Finbarr's used its newsletter to warn parents and advise them to alert their children after two girls, who were not students at the school, were approached.

“Please use this incident to clarify your family's procedures for drop-off and pick-up each day, and to remind your children how to react in such a situation,” the school told parents in its newsletter.

Byron Bay police Inspector Shane Diehm said the girls in that incident immediately moved away from the area to get help and the man left without further incident.

“Police conducted a canvass of the area and found no witnesses,” he said.

The Alstonville mum, who cannot be named, said her daughter also successfully evaded a man who approached her and a friend a few weeks ago.

The woman said both she and the daughter had seen the man and been alert to him before the incident happened.

“I am at the school every afternoon and I get to see the parents coming and going, so the suspicious drivers stand out from the crowd,” she said.

The incident took place in the car park of the Alstonville Swimming Pool, as the girl and her friend were kicking a ball. As he approached, driving a green car, the two girls hid in some bushes. After he left they ran home.

The woman spoke out after an incident yesterday near Wollongong, where a man approached a 12-year-old girl.

That incident also prompted police to issue an alert telling parents how they could protect their children from predators, and that they should know where their children were at all times.

“Always tell your children if someone other than you is going to pick them up from school,” police said in the alert.

“Tell your children to avoid talking to people they don't know. Instil in them that they should never go anywhere or get into a car with someone they don't know.”

However, the director of Alstonville's Heartfelt House - a support for victims of sexual abuse - said strangers were the lesser danger when it came to child predators.

“Eighty per cent of sexual abuse is done to children by adults who they know and trust,” director Vicki Hart said.

“Perpetrators are very scheming, very clever and they earn the trust of children and their parents and society in general.”



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