The NGO REACTION on Tuesday issued tips for parents following the near abduction of a child at Phaneromeni Square on Sunday, the Cyprus News Agency reported.
“It is especially important that parents take time to have a good communication with their children from an early age,” the organisation’s Elea Himonidou said.
REACTION said parents should help their children to learn how and when to call the emergency number 112 and at the same time how to give correct and useful information to authorities on the other end.
Children should have their home addresses and phone numbers memorised but never reveal them to strangers, especially on the internet. It also suggests parents and children have a secret word to use in case someone tries to lure them from outside school by claiming the child’s parents sent them to pick them up. If the person does not know the secret word, the child would know not to go with them, the NGO said.
Parents should also gain the confidence of their children and know what is going on in their lives so they can then tell if something is amiss or behaviours change.
“The best solution for the safety of your child is to have an informed child. Do not leave your child uninformed simply because you think it not possible that something will happen to your own child,” the organisation said.
On Monday, a 29-year-old who attempted to kidnap a three-year-old boy near a café at the Phaneromeni area in Nicosia was remanded by the Nicosia District Court for six days. The incident took place at around 5pm on Sunday. According to police, the 29-year-old grabbed the child while in a full sight of his mother who started screaming and calling for help.
The man tried to run away with the child but was stopped by other customers as the café and the surrounding area were at the time brimming with people. The child was not injured. The customers detained the 29-year-old and handed him over to police.
Investigations revealed the suspect was mentally ill and had been treated at the Athalassa psychiatric hospital in the past.