Most kids who are reported missing have run away or there has been a misunderstanding with their parents about where they were supposed to be. Of the kids and teens who are truly abducted, most are taken by a family member or an acquaintance; 25% of kids are taken by strangers.
- Almost all kids kidnapped by strangers are taken by men, and about two thirds of stranger abductions involve female children.
- Most abducted kids are in their teens.
- Kids are rarely abducted from school grounds.
- Fast Facts:
- 57% of missing adult reports involve males.
- 62% of missing adult reports were removed within 24 hours, while 90% were removed within a week.
- 58% of all missing children/youth reports involve females.
- 76% of missing children/youth reports (male and female) are runaways.
- 58% of missing children/youth reports were removed within 24 hours, while 91% were removed within a week. Canada Missing
Ways to Prevent Abductions
Many cases can be solved more easily when parents can provide key information about their kids, like: height, weight, eye color, and a clear recent photo.
Talking to Kids About Strangers:
One of the challenges of being a parent is teaching your kids to be cautious without filling them with fear or anxiety. Talk to your kids often about safety, and give them the basics on how to avoid and escape potentially dangerous situations.
- Teach Them to:
- Never accept candy or gifts from a stranger.
- Never go anywhere with a stranger, even if it sounds like fun. Predators can lure kids with questions like "Can you help me find my lost puppy?" or "Do you want to see some cute kittens in my car?" Remind your kids that adults they don't know should never ask them to help or to do things for them.
Teach Your Kids How to Respond When an Abduction is Attempted:
When it looks like someone is attempting to forcibly take them somewhere, children need to know how to respond. Teach your kids that screaming is better than yelling, especially if what they’re screaming is "Call 9-1-1!" or "Call a cop!" They should also drop anything they may be carrying and start spinning their arms around like a windmill; that makes it hard to grab them. Giving your child a whistle to blow or a noise-producing device can help scare off anyone who may attempt to abduct them.
If you think the other parent may be planning to abduct your child, there are things you can do to prevent it. Start by reading the section entitled Preventing the Abduction of Your Child from International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents.