Topic: Clever Never Goes – alternative to ‘stranger danger’ education

This toolkit aims to support and assist education staff, partner agencies and CYP practioners in their work with children, young people and families. Further information, advice and resources specific to educating children about the dangers of ‘going off’ with someone can be accessed via the Clever Never Goes and additional resources buttons on this page.

Introduction

‘Stranger danger’ initiatives began in the early 1970s and have long been criticised for failing to keep children safe whilst creating a climate of fear and suspicion. National charity Action Against Abduction has developed a child safety education programme called ‘Clever Never Goes’ to replace the out-dated ‘stranger danger’ approach to educating children.

Piloted in eight Hampshire schools with over 300 children, the programme was officially launched in June 2018 with full support of Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire County Council and all 4 Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards.

A copy of the full pilot report can be accessed via the button at the bottom of the page.

Whilst child abduction is relatively uncommon, it’s important that children can recognise the potential signs of danger. Teaching children simply to avoid strangers doesn’t work as most strangers will help rather than harm children and that it is often people known to children that pose the greatest threat.

Clever Never Goes aims to give children practical safety skills which they can use as they get older and become more independent. It’s about safety – but it’s also about building children’s abilities to engage with the outside world, and giving parents the confidence to let them.

The Concept

Clever Never Goes moves the focus away from ‘strangers’ to teach children to recognise when ANYONE, even if someone known to them, asks them to go with them.

The programme is developed around a child-friendly robot called ‘CLEVER’ who has features including a ‘Go-Spotter’ and alarm to help children develop key skills needed to assess situations and make safe decisions.

After learning about Clever, his safety features, and how they compare to the senses the children have of their own, they are shown a series of short film scenarios and asked to decide if the situation is Safe, Unsafe or Hmmm… not sure?

Free Resources for Schools and Parents

Developed originally for KS1 age children, delivery to older children has shown Clever to be equally as appealing and engaging with KS2 children, as well as those with special needs.

Primary schools can register to receive the free Clever Never Goes School Pack by clicking the button at the bottom of the page. Designed with the intention of being an easy to use ‘pick-up & go’ lesson, the pack includes:

  • Guidance for teachers
  • 2 lesson plans
  • Activities for Key Stage 1 and 2 children
  • A set of classroom slides
  • A series of short ‘Go Spotting’ practice films.

Parents and carers can download a Home Pack which contains information and activities which correlate with the messages taught in the classroom, supporting parents to talk to their children about the Clever Never Goes approach.

Hampshire Constabulary supporting Clever Never Goes

 Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney, also the National Police Chief Council lead for Children and Young People, attended the launch of Clever Never Goes on 5th June 2018, in support of the programme she said:

“Keeping children safe is a top priority for Hampshire Constabulary and it’s tremendous that parents and teachers now have access to the new Clever Never Goes programme. Whilst incidents of completed child abductions are relatively uncommon it’s important that we give children the best tools to recognise danger in a way that is balanced and positive”.

Reporting and seeking advice

 The NSPCC provide a dedicated 24/7 helpline offering support to adults who may have a concern about a child. Calls can be made anonymously. Call 101 if you have concerns about a child and would like to discuss matters with the police. If a child is in immediate danger call 999