Ask a Sheriff: What things should my child know if he or she is a victim of attempted abduction?

A: The National Center of Missing and Exploited Children established the “Take 25” campaign six years ago. The premise is to schedule 25 minutes in your day to make children safer in honor of National Missing Children’s Day, which is observed on May 25.

Per the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children’s website, every year in America an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing, more than 2,000 each day. Of that number, 200,000 are abducted by family members and 58,000 are abducted by non-family members, for which the primary motive is sexual.

It has also been proven that children’s actions result in escape from 83 percent of attempted abductions:

•32 percent actively resisted (yelling, kicking, pulling away, running away, or attracting attention)

•51 percent recognized something was not right and responded by walking or running away.

As a parent or guardian, you have the power to provide knowledge, without scaring your child, but to prepare them to react as you would hope they would. No one can ever really know what to expect when danger comes, that is why you prepare for the worst. Knowing what to do when trouble comes around only comes to those who prepare themselves.  Use these ideas along with specific examples of safety topics that can be found at www.take25.org

Speak to your child in a calm and reassuring way. Fear is not an effective teaching tool; confidence is.

Speak openly about safety issues. If you approach child safety openly, your children will be more likely to come to you with problems or concerns.

Don’t confuse children by warning against “strangers.” Danger to children is much greater from someone you or they know than from a “stranger.”

Teach children that no one has the right to force, trick, or pressure them into doing things they don’t want to do.

Practice safety skills by creating “what if” scenarios. An outing to a mall or the park can serve as a chance for children to practice safety skills, such as checking with you before they go anywhere or do anything, and locating adults who can help if they need assistance.

Supervise your children. It is vital to their protection and safety. Children should not be put in the position of making safety choices if they are not old enough or skilled enough to make those choices.

Check out adults who have access to your children. The more involved you are in your child’s life, the less likely it is that your child will seek attention from other, potentially dangerous adults. — Sheriff Joel Brott

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