Support has been pouring in from across the country for an 11-year-old boy who was abducted and sexually assaulted in Ranui, west Auckland on Thursday afternoon.
The boy left a train at Ranui station around 3:55pm, and was walking home along Ranui Station Rd. Police say a man driving a grey van abducted the child after stopping and asking him for directions, before driving him to an unknown location and sexually assaulting him.
The man then drove him back to Ranui and let him go, and the boy arrived home at 8pm. The man is believed to have held him for two hours.
Detective Senior Sergeant Jason McIntosh says the victim is recovering at home with his family.
"Police and Victim Support are doing everything we can to support them," he says.
"I know that this will be alarming to the west Auckland community and I'd like to reassure people that we will have extra patrols in the area over the next few days."
Det Snr Sgt McIntosh says police have received calls from members of the public as far away as Dunedin wishing to donate gifts and money to the victim and his family, which he says is "heartening".
Meanwhile, police are urging the public to be vigilant around what their children are doing while travelling to and from school. They say children should be walking home with others, that parents should be aware of their whereabouts after school and to report any suspicious activity.
"As a parent myself of a young boy of the same age, I would be concerned. However the police are doing everything in their power to apprehend the individual," says Det Snr Sgt McIntosh.
He says the boy will be formally interviewed on Friday.
"The boy is thankfully at home with his family now, he's obviously traumatised by the events last night," he said.
"He's been to see the doctors last night after he returned home, so whilst he's recovering at home he's then going to obviously go through that process of being eventually interviewed."
Police are appealing to the public for information. Anyone with information is asked to contact Det Snr Sgt McIntosh on 021 191 2659.