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National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART) 1, 2, 3

Goals and Objectives

The NISMART program identified and collected information on five categories of episodes that can cause children to become missing. "Episode children" include those who (1) were abducted by a family member; (2) were abducted by a nonfamily perpetrator (including "stereotypical" kidnappings); (3) ran away or were thrown away (i.e., told to leave home or prevented from returning home by a parent or other household member); (4) were missing because they were lost, stranded, or injured; and (5) were missing for benign reasons (i.e., misunderstandings). NISMART-2 and NISMART-3 used these standard definitions to develop unified estimates of missing children, including those who were and were not reported to an agency for help in locating them.

The most recent NISMART-3 collection experienced significant methodological challenges due to changes in technology and declines in response rates. As a result, OJJDP began exploring alternative strategies for collecting data on missing children. In 2017, OJJDP issued a competitive award to Westat in partnership with the University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children's Research Center to collect data on child victims of stranger abductions (i.e., stereotypical kidnappings) known to law enforcement agencies and to develop and test strategies to collect information from law enforcement agencies on parental abductions and other types of missing episodes involving children (NISMART 4). Results from NISMART 4 are anticipated in 2020.

Next: Milestones

Date Created: April 1, 2020