Criminal Abduction

Less than half a per cent of all missing children reported to our hotlines are found to have been abducted by someone other than a parent or guardian, and only half of that group, no more than 2% of all missing children, are abducted by a complete stranger. These always count as worrying disappearances.


In the other 50% of cases, the abductor is someone close to the child: a lover, family member or acquaintance. Prevention should therefore emphasize empowerment of children to understand which strangers they can trust in an emergency and to be able to report any kind of misconduct including inappropriate touching, sexual abuse, or exploitation by improving communication and trust in their primary caregivers.


While the majority of child victims of a criminal abduction are found alive, and within less than a week, up to a quarter of suspected victims of criminal abductions can remain missing for over a year. Parents of children whose fate remains unclear for such a long time may experience the complex type of grief called “ambiguous loss”, as they feel stuck between having hope for their child, and needing to grieve their loss to be able to move forward.


ChildRescue app for finding missing children – Download here

Clever Never Goes: The prevention programme empowering children – More information here

NotFound: raising awareness of long term missing cases – Download here

Acknowledging the empty space: A framework to enhance support of people left behind – More information here

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