Preventing Child Abduction

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Around the country, thousands of children are reported missing each year. Some children are found and returned, others return home on their own. Some of our children are never found or returned.

There is nothing that devastates parents, friends, and a community more than a reported child abduction or attempt kidnapping of a child. Child abduction is not only committed by a stranger, it could be committed by someone they know and trust, like a parent.

New Jersey Statutes

New Jersey Statute (2C:13-1 ET SEQ.) defines child abduction in a number of ways. Generally, child abduction involves concealing, detaining or removing a child from where he/she is found by means of force, threat or deception, without the consent or knowledge of the child’s legal custodian and/or in violation of judicial process. This may, for example, involve the violation of a custody order by a parent; the luring of a child under age 18 into a motor vehicle, structure or isolated area for a non-lawful purpose; or the removal and concealment of a child for payment by a person with no legal right to.

What Parents Can Do

  • Know where your child is at all times.
  • Never leave a small child alone at home or in a car.
  • Make sure your child knows his or her full name, address and telephone number.
  • Make sure your child know where you work, and that telephone information.
  • Know your child’s friends and where they live.
  • Teach your child about strangers. Tell him or her to never talk, take candy, or go with a stranger without your consent.
  • Make sure your child knows never to get into a stranger’s car.
  • Tell your child that if approached by a stranger, run and scream.
  • Let your child know that no one has a right to touch any part of his or her body that a bathing suit would cover.
  • Inform your child to report to you, a police officer or school authority, anyone that exposes his or her private parts to them.
  • Report to the police 911¬† immediately, if your child informs you that they were lured or assaulted by a stranger

Children should…

  • Never go to a friend’s home without informing their parents where they are going and when they will return.
  • Never talk to strangers.
  • Never take candy or gifts from strangers.
  • Never wander off when they are with their parents.
  • Move away from a car or van that pulls up next to them, if they do not know the driver.
  • Scream and run away from any stranger that calls them to a vehicle or attempts to touch them.
  • Be suspicious of any stranger asking for assistance.
  • Try to remember what the stranger looks like, as well as the vehicle and license plate number.
  • Immediately inform parents or police of any strangers that attempt to call them to a car or van.

What the Community Can Do

  • Be aware of all strangers in their neighborhood, especially if they pay undue attention to a child.
  • Write down information about strangers in your neighborhood.
  • Write down information about strange vehicles in their neighborhood.
  • Call the police immediately if someone is screaming or being chased by anyone.

When calling the police it is very important to give the call taker an accurate description of the suspect along with any vehicle used.

Try to note the following information about a suspicious vehicle:

  • Make and Model
  • Body style
  • Color
  • Number of Doors
  • License Plate Number
  • Any damage or anything unusual about the vehicle
  • Where the vehicle is located or direction it was headed.

When describing a suspect, pay close attention to the following details:

General Description

  • Sex and race
  • Estimate age, height, and weight
  • Build (fat; husky; medium; slim)
  • Hair (color; texture; style; length)
  • Eyes (color; shape; are the eyelashes and eyebrows heavy or light)
  • Complexion (color; pores; pockmarks; acne; bumps)
  • Facial Hair (clean-shaven; beard; mustache; goatee)
  • Peculiarities (large or small nose; large or small ears; marks, scars, deformities, voice, speech, how they walk or talk, etc.

Clothing Description

  • Hat (color; style – e.g., cap, fedora, hood; any printing on the hat)
  • Coats (color; style; length; any printing on the coat or jacket)
  • Shirt/Blouse (color; design; sleeves; collar; any printing on it)
  • Pants: (color; style; length)
  • Socks: (color; pattern; length)
  • Shoes: (color; style)
  • Accessories: (sweater; scarf; gloves; tie)
  • Jewelry: (watch; rings; bracelet, earrings)
  • General Appearance: (neat; sloppy; clean or dirty)
  • Oddities: (clothing too large or too small; patches)

Related links…

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