Cleo Smith disappeared from a Western Australian campsite in October 2021
The four-year-old was found 18 days later near her parents' Carnarvon home
Local man Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, has been charged with Cleo's abduction
Cleo's mother Ellie has sought advice from families in similar circumstances
Ms Smith has considered changing Cleo's name to protect her from attention
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Cleo Smith's parents are considering changing the four-year-old's name to shield her from unwanted attention in the wake of her miraculous rescue 18 days after she was allegedly abducted.
Mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon have been seeking advice from other parents whose children have been unwittingly thrust into the spotlight after suffering comparable ordeals.
They are asking how young victims of high-profile crimes recovered psychologically, including whether they underwent professional counselling and if their parents considered that process worthwhile.
Cleo made global headlines late last year when Western Australian police found her in a house at Carnarvon, 900km north of Perth, 18 days after she disappeared from a camping ground.
Cleo Smith's parents are considering changing the four-year-old's name to shield her from unwanted attention in the wake of her miraculous rescue 18 days after she was allegedly abducted
Mother Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon have been seeking advice from other parents whose children who have unwittingly thrust into the spotlight after suffering similar ordeals
Her alleged abductor, who was not known to Cleo's family, is due to make his third court appearance on Monday.
Cleo's story will receive ongoing and widespread media coverage while the case progresses through the courts, as she reaches personal milestones and when anniversaries arrive.
It is almost inevitable what happened to Cleo will one day be turned into a film.
Her parents are concerned about how their daughter will cope with years of such intense attention, having already been the focus of worldwide publicity in early childhood.
- >Cleo Smith, Carnarvon: First words after Western Australia Police found her |... >Cleo Smith's hometown of Carnarvon in 'crisis' amid rising crime rates | Daily...
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'They're worried about the repercussions of the media and so forth down the track,' a source told Daily Mail Australia.
Ms Smith has even raised with friends the possibility of changing Cleo's first and last names in an effort to protect her daughter's identity as she grows into adulthood.
'They're worried about people making the connection later on down the line,' the source said.
Cleo made global headlines late last year when Western Australian police found her in a house at Carnarvon, 900km north of Perth, 18 days after she disappeared from a camping ground. She is pictured back in the arms of her mother Ellie
Cleo's alleged abductor, Terence Darrell Kelly, is due to make his third court appearance on January 24. The 36-eyar-old was not known to Cleo's family but lived near their home
Daily Mail Australia understands Western Australian police have encouraged Ms Smith to talk about Cleo's future with the parents of other children who have experienced traumatic events.
'A big call' to change a child's identity says leading psychologist
Forensic psychologist Tim Watson-Munro could not speak specifically about changing Cleo Smith's name but said any such a move would need to be considered carefully.
'I think it's a big call to change a child's identity,' he said. 'There'd have to be fairly compelling reasons for that.
'I understand they don't want publicity, they don't want to draw attention to themselves, they want to blend into the community.
'But that has to be considered in the context of the age of the child, the child's sense of identity at that age.
'If it's little Flossy and that's what she's grown up with all her life and all of a sudden she's told she's not that person anymore but someone else I think that has the potential to be quite damaging to the child.
'I guess it's a case-by-case scenario depending on the publicity and how robust the child is but it's not something you'd race into in my view.'
'As with all matters such as these, WA Police Force provides ongoing support to families,' a spokeswoman said.
Forensic psychologist Tim Watson-Munro told Daily Mail Australia he believed it could be beneficial for Cleo's parents to talk to other families.
'I think it's a great thing as long as people are willing to speak with them,' he said. 'It's like any sort of therapy.
'Those who've been through trauma are often best-placed to speak to others about their experiences and they seem to identify more with it that way.
'They don't have people coming in just from a clinical, academic perspective. They're coming from real-life experiences and it seems to work for people.
'I think it's a great thing that they're doing it, frankly, if it's assisting people.'
Cleo disappeared from a tent on October 16 while on a weekend family holiday at the Blowholes campsite, about 80km north of Carnarvon.
She had woken about 1.30am and asked for water but when her parents got up at 6am the little girl was gone.
An land, air and sea search failed to find any trace of Cleo. Five days after she went missing police announced they believed Cleo had been abducted and offered a $1million reward.
Cleo quickly became perhaps the most recognisable four-year-old in Australia and within two weeks her smiling face would become famous around the world.
On November 3 police found Cleo alive and well inside a locked house at Carnarvon just minutes from her family home.
Terence Darrell Kelly, 36, was arrested nearby as Cleo was reunited with her parents and the nation celebrated what was described as both a miracle and outstanding police work.
Cleo quickly became perhaps the most recognisable four-year-old in Australia and within two weeks her smiling face would become famous around the world
International news outlets ran audio of the stunning moment the missing child told detectives 'My name is Cleo' and images of the blonde-haired girl in one of her rescuer's arms.
Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan even joked about who might star in a movie dramatising Cleo's disappearance and recovery.
Mr Watson-Munro said at the time Cleo and her family would have to work through 'enormous' trauma after the 18-day nightmare.
Mr Watson-Munro said Cleo's safe recovery was 'wonderful news' that almost no one expected and was relieved she had apparently been physically unharmed.
'Of course, we don't know about the psychological trauma, which I suspect will be enormous,' he told Today.
International news outlets ran audio of the stunning moment the missing girl told officers 'My name is Cleo' and moving photographs of her in a hero detective's arms (above)
Child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg told Sunrise that Cleo was likely feeling 'confused, scared, shocked, lonely and probably a tad insecure about the future'.
Dr Carr-Gregg said Cleo's reaction to what had happened to her would have to be closely monitored.
'The big concern that I have now is childhood PTSD, where you have constant, scary thoughts, nightmares, flashbacks, a marked change in mood and thinking and they will, of course, be on the lookout for that,' he said.
Dr Carr-Gregg told The West that Cleo had 'been through enough' and needed to resume a normal life.
'I think mum and dad are going to have to do a lot to shield her from her new-found notoriety, because I don't think that's going to be helpful,' he said.
Professor Mark Dadds, head of the Child Behaviour Research Clinic at Sydney University, said Cleo's experience might not have left her permanently traumatised.
Child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg said Cleo was likely feeling 'confused, scared, shocked, lonely and probably a tad insecure about the future'. Police are pictured at the house where Cleo was found
'We often assume that someone is going to have PTSD, like a traumatic response to the traumatic event, but that's not [always] the case,' Professor Dadds told NCA NewsWire.
'People are hugely varied in how they react to traumatic events. Some show traumatic reactions, but others don't.
'Her reaction will be very individual to her. Some kids are incredibly resilient and some can show a traumatic reaction to even the smallest thing.'
Professor Ian Hickie of Sydney University’s brain and mind centre told Seven News: 'It's hard to live a normal life again when something so dramatic has happened and the worldwide interest is so large.'
Kelly, who is charged with forcibly taking a child under 16, is due to appear in Carnarvon Magistrates Court on January 24.
Famous photo of a smiling Cleo eating an icy pole after her rescue did not thrill everyone who saw it
By Jo Scrimshire
It was the photo millions of Aussies had been waiting for: a smiling, happy Cleo Smith reunited with her mother after she went missing for 18 excruciating days.
But not everyone found the image released by WA Police after Cleo's recovery on November 3 last year particularly heart-warming.
TV and radio host Zoe Marshall, the wife of NRL star Benji Marshall, said the photo of Cleo waving for the camera and eating an icy pole made her feel 'uncomfortable'.
She reposted the widely shared image of Cleo on Instagram Stories but obscured the child's face with a block of text, which read: 'This makes me so uncomfortable.
TV and radio host Zoe Marshall, the wife of NRL star Benji Marshall, said a photo of Cleo waving for the camera and eating an icy pole made her feel 'uncomfortable'
'Why is there a photo of her waving and smiling? Why is there someone taking a photo and sharing it with the world at all?'
She added: 'What this little girl has endured. I just don't get it. Let her recover, be with her family, get the camera out of her face.'
After her post made headlines, Zoe gave a statement to Daily Mail Australia praising the police investigators for doing an 'incredible' job.
She also said she reacted the way she did to the hospital photo because, as a mother herself, she 'instinctively felt protective' of Cleo after everything she'd been through.
'I'm so relieved and happy that Cleo is home and safe with her family where she belongs. As a mum of two small children this story really hit home,' she said.
Zoe Marshall reposted the widely shared image of Cleo on Instagram but obscured the child's face with text which read: 'Why is there a photo of her waving and smiling?'
'When Cleo was found I instinctively felt protective of the family and what they’ve been through.
'Like everyone in Australia, I just want Cleo and her parents to have the privacy to heal and recover. I wish them only the best.'
'The WA Police and the investigators did an incredible, amazing job and are to be applauded,' she concluded.
WA Police shared the photo because of the overwhelming public interest in the case and it was presumably released with Cleo's family's permission.
The little girl seemed happy for her photo to be taken and her mother, Ellie Smith, could be seen holding her feet in the bottom right corner.
Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10416137/Cleo-Smiths-parents-look-changing-four-year-olds-protect-identity.html3762