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Personal Safety for Children: A Guide for Parents

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1998
16 pages
The aim of this pamphlet is to assist parents in talking to their children about how to protect themselves against abduction and exploitation.
The first section presents facts and figures on child abductions to help parents assess risks to their children. It reports that in 1999 approximately 203,900 children were victimized in "family abductions," in which a family member attempted to deprive a caretaker of custodial right; 98 percent of these children were returned home, and none were killed. In this same year, there were approximately 58,200 "nonfamily abductions," which involved forcibly moving or detaining a child for a relatively short period of time, usually in connection with another crime; 99 percent of these children returned home; only 115 of these were the most serious and dangerous types of abductions, which were perpetrated by strangers who kept the child overnight; almost 60 percent of these children were returned safely. When the abductor is unrelated to the child, the abductor is just as likely to be someone known to the child or family as to be a stranger. The next section of the pamphlet offers tips to parents for discussing safety with their children. Some tips are to listen to your children; know your children's daily activities and habits; encourage open communication; set boundaries on places they may go, people they may see, and what they may do; and reinforce the importance of the "buddy system." Parents should practice safety skills with their children. A section on what parents can do to help their children be safe focuses on safety at home, safety in the neighborhood, and safety at school. Another section of the pamphlet presents safety rules for younger children, followed by a set of safety rules for older children (teens). A section on emergency procedures provides advice on numbers to call and information to collect. A list of eight resources includes website addresses for agencies and organizations that can provide additional resources.

Date Published: January 1, 1998