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Groundbreaking study on abducted then murdered children

Initial findings report released in honour of 30th International Missing Children’s Day in Canada

May 25, 2016
For Immediate Release

Winnipeg, MB: As Canada marks its 30th year of participation in International Missing Children’s Day, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (Canadian Centre) is marking this important day by releasing preliminary results from a new study: Abducted then Murdered Children: A Canadian Study.

Over the last several years, the Canadian Centre has closely examined 147 instances between 1970 and 2010 involving child victims aged 16 and younger who were abducted then murdered. The purpose of the study is to better understand the demographics around these children and gain insights into the techniques and histories of the offenders – all in an effort to help identify additional prevention and intervention strategies.

“This study, which focuses on Canada’s abducted then murdered children, is the first of this magnitude in Canada,” said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. “While we know that cases of child abduction that end in murder are extremely rare, the impacts of these events on communities and the general public are significant. We hope that the stories of the children in this project will serve to educate and to remind us all of the inherent vulnerability of children and why we must do more to stop offenders who wish to exploit that vulnerability.“

“This study offers critical education and lends itself to prevention tools that can be very useful to families, educators, the parole system, law enforcement and the justice system in developing programs and policies,” said Lesley Parrott, whose daughter Alison was abducted in July 1986 and later found murdered. “It’s important to acknowledge and reinforce that for children to be abducted and murdered by a stranger in Canada is a rare occurrence. However, there is some very interesting and concrete learning to be had in evaluating these cases.”

Study Highlights:

Victims

  • 84% of the victims in the study were female (130)
  • Average age was 11.6 years old, with 43% of victims between the ages of 14 and 16 years old

Offenders

  • 92% of the offenders were male
  • 69% were under 30 years of age
  • 55% had a previous criminal record

Circumstances

  • The motivation for abducting the child was determined to be sexual in 77% instances that involved a convicted offender
  • 41% of the abductions occurred in June, July or August
  • 45% occurred on a Friday or Saturday
  • The time between the abduction and murder of the child could be determined for 60% of the victims within the study. Of those victims, 70% were murdered within three hours of abduction.

Read the full preliminary report here.

Ways to help keep our children safer:

  1. Act immediately if you believe your child is missing. Time is very important if a child has been abducted. While someone is reporting to police, immediately mobilize others to canvas the area in which the child was last seen
  2. Supervision is important. Depending on age, development and environments, parents need to consider levels of adequate supervision. For older children, it is important for parents to stay in touch and have frequent communication (e.g., texting) with their children.
  3. Teach your child safety habits and strategies. One of the most important safety strategies is the “Buddy System,” as there is increased safety in numbers.

You can join the conversation about International Missing Children’s Day on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #MissingChildrensDay and by following and sharing Canadian Centre posts.

For more information please contact:
Communications, Canadian Centre for Child Protection

Email:
communications@protectchildren.ca

Phone:
204-945-8074 (Office)
204-801-2979 (Cell)

Anyone with information about a missing child is urged to contact MissingKids.ca 24 hours a day by calling 1-866-KID-TIPS (1-866-543-8477) or police. Tips can also be submitted online at www.missingkids.ca. All information can be shared confidentially.

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About the Canadian Centre for Child Protection: The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is a national charity dedicated to the personal safety and protection of children. Our goal is to reduce the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, to assist in the location of missing children and to prevent child victimization.

About International Missing Children’s Day: May 25th was proclaimed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan as Missing Children’s Day in 1983 following the disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz on May 25, 1979 from New York City. Solicitor General Perrin Beatty, first declared Canada’s participation in Missing Children’s Day in 1986. International Missing Children’s Day is now recognized throughout North America and Europe as an annual reminder to make child protection a priority and renew efforts to reunite missing children with their families.

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