Child approaches prompt karate lessons for students

Students at Woonona East Public School have received a crash course in self-defence, after three incidents of men in vans approaching children in the suburb.

Kids from kindergarten to year 6 took part in the self-defence lesson, run by several karate instructors, including Lisa Cox from the Corrimal branch of Go-Kan-Ryu (GKR).

There have been three reports of men in vans approaching children walking in Woonona in the last month.

The latest incident occurred on May 20, when a van pulled up behind a 13-year-old riding her bike in Blueberry Circuit and the driver said something to her.

Police do not believe the incidents are linked, as the descriptions of the men and the vehicles are different. Wollongong police Inspector Phil O'Neil said no arrests had been made.

Ms Cox said they had instructed the children in what to do if they were approached by an adult they did not know and showed them how to get out of a range of holds.

"We went through a whole heap of situations with them and told them it was okay to say no to an adult," she said.

The instructors also gave the students tips on walking home safely, such as not wearing earphones when walking alone, a message which tied in with last Friday's Walk Safely to School Day.

Anyone with information about the incidents should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.