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  • Writer's pictureThe M Word Consulting


To protect ourselves from abductors, we have to know their tactics. The National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children conducted a ten-year analysis of abduction cases based on 9,872 children and 9,027 offenders involved in 8,015 unique incidents. The study discovered very important patterns regarding the incident timing and location, offenders’ methods, and how children got away from attempted abductions.

Offenders used a variety of methods against children, ranging from manipulative verbal ploys like offers, questions or demands, to the use of overt force like weapons, breaking and entering and threats of violence. Here are 10 important findings from the study:

MOST COMMON OPPORTUNITY: Attempted abductions happen most often when a child is going to or from school.

GIRLS ARE MOST AT RISK: The highest risk demographic for abduction are girls between ages 10-14. In the study, 67% of children were female and 21% were male (gender was unknown for 12%).

WATCH OUT FOR VEHICLES: Most abductions involve an offender using a vehicle.

MOST COMMON LOCATION: The street is by far the most common incident location.

ABDUCTION METHODS: Offenders primarily used forceful methods against the youngest and oldest children while verbal ploys were the primary approach used against elementary and middle school-age children.

KIDS NEED TO PROTEST: When only verbal ploys were used, children were most likely to get away by ignoring or refusing the offender, using their cell phones to threaten possible adult intervention and/or by actual adult intervention.

KIDS NEED TO FIGHT BACK: When forceful methods were used against children, children most commonly got away from offenders by fighting, screaming/making noise and/or by adult intervention.

SCREAM! Of all the things children did to escape, screaming/making noise was the only behaviour that increased the likelihood of an offender’s arrest because it specifically increased the chances of adult intervention.

PREDOMINANTLY MALE PREDATORS: 97% of offenders were male, and 3% were female. Children are most commonly victimised by male offenders working alone (87%), followed distantly by males working in same-sex pairs (7%).

When male offenders are involved, older children are most often targeted rather than children that are before school age. Female offenders are more likely to victimise younger children including infants, toddlers, and elementary school age children.

PROACTIVE ACTION! 83% of children who escaped their would-be abductors did something proactive. They walked/ran away, yelled, kicked, or pulled away. This means the best thing a child can do if someone tries to abduct them is take action instead of being passive or polite.

To help teach your children what to do in an abduction situation, look out for our upcoming courses in August. To register your interest, comment below, send us a DM or email

Because one child is too many.

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