Nearly two in three people would hesitate to help a child who appeared lost for fear of being falsely accused, a new survey has found.
In research for the NSPCC, 64% of UK adults said they would be concerned about being wrongly suspected or that someone would misunderstand their intentions if they went to the aid of a youngster who seemed to be lost.
Nearly half of the 2,899 respondents (45%) said they would stay close by and observe - almost as many as those who said they would approach the child (47%).
More than one in three of those polled said they had been in that situation. Fear of being wrongly accused or someone misreading their intentions was the most frequently cited barrier to approaching a child. It was more common among men (73%) than women (56%).