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Fourth National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children (NISMART‐4) Law Enforcement Survey – Stereotypical Kidnapping (LES-SK) Technical Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2022
202 pages

This Fourth National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART-4) is the fourth cycle of studies conducted in compliance with the Congressional mandate in the 1984 Missing Children’s Assistance Act.


As amended in 2013, the Act now requires the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to conduct national  incidence studies triennially “to determine for a given year the actual number of children reported missing each year, the number of children who are victims of abduction by strangers, the number of children who are victims of parental kidnapping, and the number of children who are recovered each year.” For reasons specified in this report, NISMART-4 departed from the methodologies and studies used in previous cycles, focusing solely on law enforcement data on kidnapped and missing children. The primary objectives of NISMART-4 were to 1) design and pilot test a more efficient methodology for collecting national data on the child victims of stereotypical kidnapping known to law enforcement (LES-SK); 2) implement the redesigned LES-SK survey to produce national estimates; 3) develop and pilot test instruments and sampling methods to collect information from law enforcement agencies on family abductions (FA) and other types of missing children (MC), and returned children in preparation for a national survey; and 4) produce statistical products, methodological reports, and other scholarly research reports for dissemination to the public.

Date Published: February 1, 2022