Speech of Steven Gauge
Chief Executive, Suzy Lamplugh Trust

I am Steven Gauge, Chief Executive of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and I am here to wholeheartedly support the Safer Strangers, safer buildings campaign.

I am here to support this campaign, as the head of a charity, dedicated to giving people the practical support and advice that they need to stay safe. I am also here to support this campaign as a parent.

When Paul and Diana Lamplugh set up the Suzy Lamplugh Trust in memory of their daughter who disappeared over twenty years ago, they wanted to help make sure that no parent had to go through the experience that they went through. Their daughter was in her early twenties. Today the Suzy Lamplugh Trust works to help people young and old to stay safe.

But we also believe that life is for living. We donít want to wrap up our children in cotton wool. Children and young people need to experience the world for real rather than just through the buttons on their Nintendo Wii handset. This campaign is all about giving growing children the skills they need to stay safe whilst learning about the world and living their lives to the full.

Children, like all of us are influenced by the media. The media however, is driven by an institutional obsession with extremes. Sometimes this is useful and helps to focus public opinion on things that need changing. Sometimes it goes too far and people of all ages end up with a totally distorted perception of the risks that they face.

At the Suzy Lamplugh Trust we want to make sure that people have practical skills to help them stay safe that are appropriate for the level of risk that they actually face. Not every stranger is a child molester, not every building is a torture chamber. Children need to know that when there are problems, there are people who they can turn to. There are places that they can go.

As a parent, I discovered very early on you can never win, and you never get it quite right. You want to protect your children but you want them to be able to discover the world for themselves. You want them to learn from their own mistakes but there are some mistakes that can be fatal and they canít learn from those.

As parents we donít want to scare our children to death but we too canít ignore the news. 27 children were murdered in here London last year, mainly by other children. 11 have died so far this year. I know the percentage murder rates for children are still tiny Ė but every single one of those children is still 100% dead.

There are practical things that parents and teachers can do to help children stay safe and enjoy their lives to the full Ė this campaign I hope will help parents, like me get that balance right and keep their children safer. And so, on behalf of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust I am delighted to support the Safer strangers, safer buildings campaign. † † † †

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