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Kidnapping and Child Abduction in Australia

More than 500 people were abducted across our nation in the past financial year, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in January 2021. This critical issue is unfortunately not widely known or publicised in the media or throughout our general community. COBRA is here to change that, because we believe that even one single child is TOO MANY.


The first step in protecting your child from potential abductors is to know what you're dealing with. Here are some important — and potentially surprising — facts about child abductions in Australia.

  • Out of 534 kidnappings and abductions in Australia in just the last year, 225 of them were in New South Wales.


  • Victoria recorded the next highest number with 158 people abducted or kidnapped, while Queensland and South Australia recorded 59 cases.


  • In Victoria, NSW and South Australia females were more often the victims than males, but in Queensland, more males were victims of the crime.


  • Despite what we might have come to believe about ‘stranger danger’, in NSW, Victoria and SA most of the kidnappers were known to their victims, either as family members or someone in their wider circle.


  • In 80 percent of abductions by strangers, the first contact between the child and the abductor occurs within half a kilometer of the child's home.


  • Most potential abductors grab their victims on the street or try to lure them into their vehicles.


  • About 74 percent of the victims of non-family child abduction are girls.


  • Acting quickly is critical. Seventy-four percent of abducted children who are ultimately murdered are dead within three hours of the abduction.


  • One in five children 10 to 17 years old receive unwanted sexual solicitations online.


  • At least 95 percent of child abductors are men, and they tend to be unmarried and have very few close friends. They are more likely than other molesters to use guns, knives or other force to commit their crimes.


  • About 40 percent of the time, abductors who take children for sexual purposes kill their victim.


  • Occasionally child abductions are committed by women who desire children of their own. Women who abduct babies usually do it to preserve a relationship with a man.



Whilst kidnapping is a very real and significant issue we must tackle, we do warn against just focusing on crimes in which children are abducted by strangers, because it draws attention away from the larger problem of child sexual abuse - by family members, coaches, teachers, friends, priests and others.


Sadly, many thousands of cases of sexual abuse of kids are reported to authorities every year, and more are not reported. We must keep in mind the reality that 90 percent of child abuse is committed by family members and acquaintances.


This means teaching our children to protect themselves, to be wary of strangers, and to also make wise choices about people they know. That is what COBRA is here for, because one child is always too many.


For more information and for tips, advice and support in preventing YOUR child from abduction and abuse, be sure to read our blog, enrol in our courses and follow us on social media. We’ll be putting our more and more content over the coming weeks and months to help Australian families maintain the innocence, cherishment and joy that every child – and childhood - deserves.


Danny Watkins

Instructor- COBRA Self Defence Sunshine Coast


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