Stranger Kidnappings: Rare, But A Threat To Children

According to New South Wales, Australia police reports, an 11-year-old girl, who had been walking to school in the morning, was threatened by a man wielding a knife and forced into his car.

The perpetrator drove to the bushland where he sexually assaulted the girl before releasing her five hours later at a railway station, 1.5 kilometers (about a mile) away from where he had kidnapped her.

Police were contacted when the girl returned home. She was taken to the hospital for medical examination.

According to the victim, the perpetrator wore a hoodie and "had it zipped up over his chin and mouth." Police said this "prevented the young lady from seeing his full description." 9News "Girl, 11, abducted and sexually assaulted in Newcastle" (Jun. 13, 2018).

Commentary and Checklist

Although this crime happened in Australia, people who are known and trusted by a child or the child’s family commit most of the child sexual abuse in the United States.

Kidnapping by a stranger is rare, but it does occur.

Stranger kidnappings victimize more females than males. The events occur primarily in outdoor locations and are likely to involve the use of a firearm or other weapon. Additionally, in 80 percent of these incidents, the first contact between the child and the perpetrator occurs within a quarter mile of the child’s home. Most of these perpetrators grab their victims on the street or try to lure or entice them into their vehicles.

In the above matter, the perpetrator took advantage of a child out in the open, unaccompanied while walking to school. As a safe adult, it is important that you are constantly vigilant as to anyone who interacts with your child, even strangers.

What are some steps adults can take to lessen the risk of a stranger abduction for children while they are out walking?

  • Accompany small children when they are outdoors.
  • Teach teens and older children to stay away from unknown vehicles. If someone asks them to get into a vehicle, they should find a safe adult immediately.
  • Teach older children the importance of staying together and the safety of groups.
  • Children should play in areas like backyards or where fences are in place.
  • If a stranger approaches a child in the public, the child should avoid engaging the stranger and always continue walking. Safety is more important than manners.
  • Teach teens and older children to use their voices and bodies to get away when someone is physically threatening. Explain that yelling "NO! STOP!" can get the attention of people who can help.
  • Explore the option of age-appropriate self-defense training.
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