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How to Help an Abducted Child

Stranger abduction cases draw a lot of attention from the media and the public and this support is certainly needed. The police investigation relies on members of the community becoming the eyes and ears of law enforcement, working together to bring an abducted child home safely. Often when we see the worst in society, as in a case of child abduction, we also see the best in society, with caring community members coming forward to lend a hand. It is critical that the help coming forward is guided and appropriate so that no unintentional harm is caused to the investigation. Please refer to the Community Response Plan for guidelines and recommendations on how best to organize and effectively support the searching family and the overall search for their missing child.

If you see an abducted child, or know of any information related to a child abduction, or a child that you suspect may have been abducted, call the police immediately. You can also report a tip or sighting to here.

If you think you see an abducted child or possible suspect:

  1. Immediately contact the police.

  2. Try to get as much descriptive information (e.g. vehicle licence plate number, description of child, description of suspect, description of location, direction in which they were heading, etc.) and pass this information along to the police

  3. Do not intervene.

  4. Do not speak to the media about the case, even if you feel you have information to share. During child abduction investigations, it is important that the police are able to limit the amount of information shared with the public, as the abductor may be reading, listening and watching news stories about the abduction. The police weigh this risk with the benefits of engaging the media when deciding what information to share with the public and when to share it with the public.

If you are living outside of the immediate area of where a child has been abducted, there are still many ways you can help. It is possible that the abductor may be travelling with the child, and may come into your community — so pay attention to media notifications of an abducted child and be on the lookout for the child, suspect or suspect vehicle. Make sure to call the police immediately if you spot anyone or anything that fits the description given by media with regard to a child abduction and call the police if you see people, vehicles, or situations that concern you.

If you see or hear an AMBER Alert, pay close attention to the details in the alert, and keep an eye out for the abducted child, the suspect or the suspect’s vehicle described in the AMBER Alert. If you see or hear something with regard to a child abduction mentioned in the media, call 911 immediately. See the AMBER Alert section for more details. Remember to not make assumptions when it comes to child abduction cases. Far too often in these types of cases, community members unfairly judge the searching parents. Remember that everyone responds to a crisis in a different way — just because a parent appears to be calm, angry, sad or indifferent does not indicate any sort of culpability. The police will investigate every angle of the case — community members do not have to do the same.

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