By Will Brook
A mother has raised nearly £1,500 to spend on personal alarms for schoolgirls across the capital after video footage of a near abduction surfaced on social media.
Chelsea Maffia, 24, who lives near Bromley, decided to start the fundraiser on platform Gofundme after she was shocked by a video of a young girl nearly abducted by an alleged rapist while on her way to school in Mitcham.
The fundraiser, created on November 3, has already received £1,456 in donations. At a price per alarm of around 90p, Chelsea will be able to buy at least 1,500 alarms to give to school pupils.
She said: “I think about it all the time that if that poor little girl had had an alarm or something to just raise awareness, then maybe it wouldn’t have happened.
“I think that with the lockdown, and schools still open, it’s only kids on the street. In the morning when I drop my son off at nursery, it’s only school age children.
“There’s no one else out, so I feel like, as awful as it sounds, it’s become a predator’s paradise.
“When I was younger I was assaulted, and there were people around. But I was kind of frozen with fear, and too scared to scream, but you know people are looking at you.
“I feel like if I had had an alarm there that I could have pulled, people would have known that something was wrong, instead of me kind of begging with my eyes.”
Chelsea originally set a £1,000 target for the fundraiser, which was met within days.
She then decided to increase the target to £2,000, which would buy roughly 4,000 personal alarms for pupils due to the price of each alarm dropping with larger orders.
Chelsea intends to distribute the alarms firstly in schools in South London boroughs that have recently been the setting of assaults, such as Merton.
On November 3, a 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of rape following a manhunt in Merton.
A Section 60 Order was authorised in Merton and Wandsworth as a result of fears of serious violence, which grants police greater stop and search powers.
Chelsea, who always carries an alarm, is prioritising giving alarms to young girls first, but hopes to provide them to young boys too if she receives enough donations.
She said: “I feel so much safer, just to have it – you know it’s that little bit of reassurance.
“As a parent I know that if my child was taking one to school and using it appropriately I’d feel a little bit safer.”
Pictured top: Chelsea Maffia holding one of the personal alarms she will give to thousands of South London pupils.
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