Melbourne, Sept 15 : Australian kids are being stalked and assaulted by sexual predators on their way to and from school at a rate of one incident a week, according to a new report.
Despite millions of dollars having been spent on tighter security in schools across New South Wales, data obtained by The Daily Telegraph under Freedom of Information shows that incidents are ranging in severity from 'flashing' through to rape.
According to the report, more than 50 incidents have been recorded by the Department of Education and Training, and passed on to police, in the 12 months to April this year, reports News.com.au
None of the official reports involves individuals known to the victims, or custody disputes.
Evidence of rising stranger danger follows a switch in emphasis in recent years by child protection groups towards sexual assault within the home, downplaying the risks of attacks by strangers.
The once-widespread safety house network has also virtually shut down because of fading community support.
However, the incident reports show strangers are reported to have loitered around schools, even entering playgrounds in search of a student.
On February 1, an attack in the Bathurst area involved a Year 9 girl who was grabbed by three intruders as she walked alone up the stairs towards her class.
The victim only escaped after being led out of the school building to the bus bay area where the assailants tried to push her into a car.
A spokesman for Education Department said that cases of students being approached inappropriately were rare but they did occur.