WITH children hitting the streets tonight for Hallowe’en, youngsters have been learning about the potential dangers they face from strangers.
Around 60 local kids attended the Stranger Danger event held at Pallion Action Group, inspired by the disappearance of five-year-old April Jones, in Wales.
Community development worker Karen Wood said: “We’ve got lots of parents who have been affected by what has happened in Wales and with kids going out for Hallowe’en, now it’s even more important.
“We get very comfortable with people nowadays, so it’s important to remind people of the dangers.
“It’s one of those things that can happen so quickly, we just need the kids and parents aware.
“We’re not trying to stop anyone from having fun, we’re just making them aware.”
Monday’s event saw kids enjoy pumpkin carving and Hallowe’en face-painting, with Sunderland-based Globaltech Security providing an awareness talk and self-defence sessions.
Globaltech sales and marketing manager Chris Poole said: “I can’t believe, now, that it’s not in schools. I think kids should be made clearly aware of the dangers that are outside in today’s society.”
Violet Atkinson attended with her daughters Dawn, 16, and Katie, six, after being affected by the April Jones case.
The 41-year-old, from Pallion, said: “She was only five and Katie’s only six, it’s really important that she knows not to go away with strangers.
“It’s about keeping her safe over Hallowe’en because there are so many kids going missing.”
PC Kevin Hood, from Millfield Community Team showed his support at the event.
He said: “It’s a good idea because not far from here you’ve got The Bridges, which is a highly-populated area. There’s potential there for children to go missing, which inevitably they do.
“There’s a lot of children out this week, doing the door-to-door thing, so there needs to be awareness.
“We’ve got Bonfire Night coming up. It’s massively populated, with a potential for children to go missing.
“Stranger danger brings to the attention of the children what could happen if they do go away from their parents.”