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Preventing child abductions

Child molesters and abductors usually look like everyday people. They can be anybody, the teacher, next door neighbor, mailman and they come in all ages, old and young. Tell your kids not to talk to adults they do not know. Anytime they are approached by an unfamiliar adult they should check with a parent or trusted adult immediately!
Often times they will befriend a child by asking for help or offering something for they attention. Some examples are: Asking to help find a lost item or pet, offering reward money or for the very young ones candy or toys for assistance, saying they are good friends with mom or dad, acting like a police officer (children should only approach uniformed police officers, and/or marked police cars).

They may also gain your child's trust by very minor contacts over several days, such as saying hello to them repeatedly. Make sure your children know to tell you if a stranger is trying to make friends with them right away!
Child molesters and abductors who prey on children wait for the right opportunity, like when the child is alone. Children should not be outside their home by themselves, even for short periods of time. They should walk to and from school and bus stops in groups.

Working together with other families in your neighborhood to develop a formal plan for kids to walk together is a good idea. Parents are encouraged to join or organize a Neighborhood Watch program in their community. A car or other vehicle such as a van is often the means by which the abductor kidnaps the child from the neighborhood. Children should never approach a vehicle unless they are absolutely sure they know the occupants. Abductors entice children to walk near their vehicles with some type of gift or questions and then pull them inside.

If children routinely see the same car parked (or following them) on their normal walking routes (to and from school, etc.) they should report it to trusted adults immediately! And the local police should be notified if strange activity is apparent!
Here are some statistics:
- Approximately 879,000 children (or 12.2 per 1,000) were maltreated (neglected or abused) in 2000.
- Sixty-three percent of maltreated children were neglected, nineteen percent were physically abused, ten percent were sexually abused, and eight percent were emotionally or psychologically maltreated.
- In 2000, 51.9 percent of child victims of maltreatment were female, and 48.1 percent were male.
- The rate of victimization of children was inversely related to the age of the child. Children from birth to age 3 were victimized at the highest rate.
- More than half of all child victims were white (50.6 percent), almost a quarter were black (24.7 percent), and nearly a sixth (14.2 percent) were Hispanic. American Indian/Alaska Natives made up 1.6 percent of victims, and Asian-Pacific Islanders accounted for 1.4 percent.
- Nearly nine percent of child victims experienced recurrence of maltreatment within six months of the initial substantiated incident.
- The majority of perpetrators of child maltreatment in 2000 were women (59.9 percent), while men accounted for 40.1 percent.
- Seventy-nine percent of perpetrators were parents of the maltreated child, and other relatives made up 8.5 percent of perpetrators. Both parents were perpetrators in 18.7 percent of cases.
- Thirty-seven children were killed by their babysitter in 2001.

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