Strangers speak to children in Dresden: “Perpetrators promise sweets”
In recent times, children on their way to school in Dresden have been visited more and more often by strangers. Police and social workers provide tips on how parents can make their children aware of such situations.
Dresden. It happened in the middle of the day at 2.30pm on a bus number 64 heading towards Kaditz. An unknown perpetrator got on the bus at the “Enno-Heidebroek-Straße” bus stop in mid-June and spoke to a twelve-year-old. “He complimented her and asked her if she wanted to come home to him. The child refused,” police said.
When the girl wanted to get off at the “Nätherstraße” stop, the man held her in the straps of her backpack. Only when an approximately 20-year-old woman intervened did the stranger girl escape, police say. Cases like this, where children are contacted by strangers, happen again and again in Dresden.
How often were children in Dresden talked to?
“By 2022, 34 cases of suspicious contact with children in Dresden have become known,” said police spokesman Marko Laske. But it did not come to an emergency. “There are no known cases of children getting into vehicles or walking with them,” he says.
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The cases are generally spread throughout the city. But in the Plauen and Pieschen districts, according to police, there were four cases each. “The cases often occur early in the morning or early in the afternoon. Here, a connection with the school road can be assumed,” Laske said when asked by SZ.
The perpetrators would often use the same trick over and over again: “In the majority of known cases, offers of candy and the opportunity to pet babies are named.” It is difficult to identify the perpetrators. “So far, a suspect has been identified,” Laske said of the 2022 balance sheet so far.
34 cases this year are many compared to previous years. In 2021 there were 54 cases known by the police, in 2020 there were 30 cases. However, schools were closed for several months in 2020 due to the pandemic, and the closure was imposed twice.
How can I protect my child?
Dresden police advise parents to talk openly with their children about the subject and raise awareness. “Parents should give the child a resolute no. The key message: No one can ask you for something you do not want,” the police spokesman stressed.
It is also important to practice with the child how to behave in threatening situations. “They should run away, talk to other adults or shout loudly for help,” advises Laske.
Parents should also discuss with the child where and from whom they can get help in an emergency. The child must know the police number 110. And, according to Laske’s recommendation, let the children go to school in groups with other children.
Heike Mann, head of the AWO specialist center for the prevention of sexual violence against children and young people “Shukura”, is aware of the problem of children and young people being repeatedly contacted by strangers in Dresden. The social worker advises to convey to the children: “My body belongs to me. I decide which touches I feel comfortable with. I can trust my feelings.”
It is important to convey to the children that they can pass on apparent secrets that harm them or someone else. “I am allowed to get help, even though I have been banned from doing so. It is not my fault if my rights are violated,” Mann said.
However, she warns against another major danger: “Often, however, sexualised violence against children and young people is perpetrated by perpetrators who know the children and young people – who are neighbors, parents or coaches.”
Unfortunately, there are still too few prevention and intervention options in Saxony. “We very much hope that the existing offerings will not be further reduced due to the necessary cost savings due to Covid-19, but will be expanded and expanded,” says Mann. The offers can often not meet the many inquiries and requirements for capacity reasons.