Mosman Police Meeting: More than 100 concerned locals turn out for child sex abuse forum.
By ANNA USHER with images by GRAHAM MONRO
A special forum organised by Mosman Collective and NSW Police last night attracted 100 locals, in the wake of child sex abuse allegations at Mosman Swim Centre.
Concerned parents and carers were provided with critical information and strategies on how to approach protective behaviours with their children.
Tight security measures were in place for the scheduled 6:30pm community meeting, with a police contingent and council staff checking resident’s names and ID before being granted access to Mosman Art Gallery.
“It’s an event I wish I didn’t have to attend,” one mum told Mosman Collective, “but I’m thankful it’s been organised, and the information has been helpful.”
Senior Constable Jenni Brown and Youth Liaison Officer Misty Boss opened the event with an online grooming presentation, aimed at parents and carers of children aged under 16.
“Kids often think that sharing images of themselves online is harmless, without realising that their images can end up anywhere,” Senior Constable Brown said.
“As parents, we need to know who our children are communicating with on social media.
“Not everyone you talk to online is who they say they are.”
Senior Constable Brown said children should never post photographs or video while wearing school or sports uniforms, making them easily identifiable to sexual predators.
“The key is to keep communication open, and get involved in your kids’ social media activities,” she said.
“Be interested in how popular apps like Snapchat or Tik Tok work, then ask your kids to show you the ropes.
“Insist that computer and gaming time is not a solitary activity and keep your devices in a public space at home.”
NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian was also present at the forum, with a series of protective behaviour books for parents – and a user guide - not usually made available to the general public.
The books, called the SAFE series, contain four different child safety messages, one in each book.
“Children need to understand that their body belongs to them and that if someone is to touch their private parts, such as to provide medical treatment, they should first explain what is involved and ask their permission,” the user guide reads.
“Encouraging children to recognise the emotions and to speak up when they feel scared or upset may reduce the chance of the child being exposed to offending behaviour.
“It is also important for children to know that they have people who are there to help them if they encounter an abuser.
“Providing a child with a network of people who will support them is an important aspect of protective behaviours.”