Although it can be very difficult to detect that a stranger abduction is occurring, or prevent a stranger abduction from happening, there are ways to become more aware of risks and act to intervene that can help protect your child and other children in your community from potential harm.
To any new individuals you have never seen before hanging around places where children play (e.g. parks, playgrounds, schools, etc.), but not accompanying or supervising any one particular child.
If you notice a young child on their own, get involved and call the police or accompany them to safety. See if their parents are nearby or call police or a child welfare agency to assist.
If you notice an adult is trying to take a child away from a public place or children’s area, if you suspect something isn’t quite right, get involved. By simply drawing attention to the situation, it may be enough to stop a child abduction in progress.
Pay attention to any news and/or alerts of recent child abduction attempts in your area.
Most police agencies provide community notifications whenever a known sex offender is believed to be living or working in a community. Learn how this information is communicated, and be aware of what possible things you can do.
Be aware of any individual paying an unusual amount of attention to your child or children in your community.
If your child or a child you know tells you about someone they met online that made them feel uncomfortable, report the information to police or Cybertip.ca. While your child made the right decision in telling you, the next child approached online by the same individual may not feel like they can tell a safe adult and may be victimized as a result.
Pay attention to children or youth who seem to be in distress, and seek help when necessary.
If you have concerns about an individual as outlined above, contact the police immediately so they can investigate. Provide a complete description of the individual and any vehicle they are using, including the licence plate number of the vehicle.
Research shows that “40.3 per cent of those who experienced the most serious forms of child abduction were victims of- opportunity.” 1
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Know the Rules… Abduction and Kidnapping: Prevention Tips for Parents and Guardians, (Virginia, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 2002).