Communication is key say experts when it comes to keeping your child safe from being abducted, especially in the summer months.
A preliminary study was released Wednesday and the abduction patterns that emerged are startling.
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (CCCP) document states: “While cases of “stranger” abductions and murders of children in Canada are extremely rare, the impacts of such events on communities and the general public are significant.”
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The “Abducted then Murdered Children: A Canadian Study” also noted that in 41 per cent of all instances where there was the abduction and murder of one or more children, the time of year was June, July or August.Abducted then Murdered Children: A Canadian Study
“Kids are outside and I think they spend a little more time playing whether it’s in your neighbourhood or they venture a little bit further when it’s nice out so.”
The timing of when it’s most common for children to be abducted came as no surprise to Saskatoon mother Rebekah Cederwall, what did was the data associated with the average age of the victim.
Released to mark the 30th anniversary of International Missing Children’s Day, the study looked at 147 abduction and murder incidents involving 155 victims over a 40-year timeframe from 1970 to 2010.
The cases studied involved:
Children 16 years or younger at the time of the abduction;Where the child’s remains were located or one person was convicted for the offence.
According to the data, 84 per cent of the victims in the study were female. and the average age of the victim was 11.6 years old.
“That actually doesn’t surprise us because that is the age where push back starts, they want their own independence,” said Sue Ramsay with Child Find Saskatchewan.
Of the 147 instances that were studied:
92 per cent of the time the abductor was male;69 per cent of the time they were under 30-years of age;While most of the offenders were adults, 22 per cent were under the age of 18;68% of the 93 convicted offenders included in the study were Caucasian;At least 55 per cent of the offenders had a criminal record prior to the time the offence was committed;In 77 per cent of all instances, the motivation was sexual in nature.
“First of all you want to tell your child, a stranger is not a big scary, hairy man,” said Ramsay.
“A stranger is someone you don’t know well and that could be a neighbour, that could a relative.”
Parents are also advised to have conversations regarding “stranger danger” sooner than you may think.
“As soon as your child is old enough to understand words is when you start.”
Ramsay suggests picking a favourite nursery rhyme and incorporating a child’s address, their full name as well as your’s.
“What’s grandma’s name? Grandma. What’s my name? Mommy. That’s not going to help if that child wanders off and somebody finds them or law enforcement finds them and they have to find out where they live.”
Experts say age appropriate supervision is key but equip your children with the right tools to gain independence. Play out scenarios, monitor their smartphones or computer use and tell your child to trust their instincts.
“Children should know they do not have to listen to adults and adults should know you don’t ask kids for assistance,” said Ramsay.
“If a car drives up, if an adult comes up, step back, make sure that they can’t reach you and it’s okay for them to shout ‘no’ and just run.”
Cederwall said she started teaching her children to be aware of their surroundings in pre-school and expanded on the information as they got older.
“I’ve talked to them about making sure they’re careful around strangers, don’t stop if anybody approaches them that they don’t, just making them aware.”
Currently, there are 122 missing people of all ages in the province.
For more information on the study, click this link:
Abducted then Murdered Children: A Canadian Study