Last week my daughter was on the 319 bus with her friend, coming home from school (4.15ish). A man started talking to her. At first it sounded innocent; what school do you go to; the uniform is smart etc.. Then he started asking what year she was in. Although very uncomfortable, she replied “year 8” because she didn’t want to be rude. And lastly he asked whether that meant she was 16 or not...
(she is 12!).
Luckily one of her teachers was on the bus and was watching this interaction. At this point he stepped in, introduced himself and told the man to stop talking to her. The man apologised and stopped.
My daughter was visibly shaking when she got home and was telling me about it.
I logged a report with the Met and they rang me the next day. They’ve said it will be logged as an incident so that it can be referred to if needed in the future, but as he didn’t actually do anything, that’s all they can do. This was more than I expected so I’m pleased it is on their radar.
I wanted to post this to say please tell your children that if a stranger starts talking to them - not just to ask the time, but if if starts to feel weird - then it is ok to ignore them, and then to tell someone. I’ve told my daughter to get her phone out and call me straight away (clearly another risk with all the muggings but this one trumped it), or to start talking to a nearby woman (not easy to do I admit).
The man was described (by the teacher) as around 50, clean-shaven and wearing a suit. Which would possibly encourage a child to reply out of respect.
Thanks for reading.