Almost every week you can read or hear about a new case of child abuse in the media. With this page we want to move something to help reduce such events or to prevent them in a possible isolated case. We have created some aid children can use together with their educators, teachers or family members to develop a healthy mistrust to strangers and not to go with them and to increase their talent of observation. The children are taught to say “NO” in dangerous situations and to talk about the things they experienced to their parents or to other trustful persons.

In the last months many projects with the materials of our project 1 “Nina and the stranger” were carried out in many day nurseries in the district of Altenburg. Many children in preschool schools and in clubs learnt about “Policat” and it it`s mission. But also adults at parent – teacher meetings and educational meetings did so. From all these activities we have gained experience and have also got critical remarks for improvements and the extension of our project.

As a result of the analysis of our previous work, our “Project 2” was developed. The main focus of attention is to teach the children in a playful and impressive way that the lure of potential abusers is not “just chocolate”, but that there are also other “gifts”. For this purpose we developed a dice game with a magnetic board. By means of the fictional crime scene “bus stop” we created a way to make children of an age group from 4 or 5 years on playfully aware of such dangers of their environment under the guidance of their pedagogical staff. At the same time the issue “Don’t touch me, it’s my body!” will be mentioned. The children are supposed to learn to act self-confidently and to defend their bodies.

Our mascot “Policat” which in the past has already made a name for itself as a preventative figure in the district of Altenburg functions as an advisor. The name “Policat” stands both for the prevention materials made for “Nina and the stranger – Against sexual abuse of children – A possible danger on the way to school – To realize and to prevent” (project 1) and for a cat-like soft toy presented as a policeman or policewoman.

The soft toy “Policat” (40 cm) is no toy in the conventional sense and wasn’t thought as such at any time. From the experiences that we gained at the many meetings in day nurseries during the development of our prevention products we came to the conclusion that children trust very fast in the soft toy and tell them everything. Our soft toy is only to serve this aim, as a kind of “confessor” and supporter for teachers and educators. “Policat” is also available as a soft toy at a size of 4 feet and 11 inches (150 cm) for information and presentation events of both projects.

Steffen Gründel and Walburga Gründel-Syring

Translated by students of the 12/2 English course of Lerchenberggymnasium Altenburg