Get The ‘Code Word’ Out! One Simple Strategy Saved A 10-Year-Old Girl From Being Kidnapped
November 21, 2018 16:02 By Fabiosa
Despite the tremendous achievements of modern civilization and the development of our society, child abduction remains a global problem as evidenced by grim statistics.
Kidnappers may have different intentions, from religious and commercial, to crimes involving physical and sexual abuse. About 25% of abductions fall into the latter category, wherein sometimes the perpetrators are people familiar to the child, and the first contact with the future abductor often occurs in the close vicinity of the place of residence. Abductions result in deep psychological traumas, lack of trust in people, and fear, provided that the child survives the abuse.
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In order to raise awareness among adults and children, the sheriff’s office in Pinal County, Arizona, shared information about a kidnapping attempt that took place a few days earlier. A stranger tried to lure 10-year-old Maddison Raines into his SUV under the pretext that her brother allegedly had been in a serious accident and he had been instructed to pick her up. Fortunately, she kept her wits about her and asked the man what the “family’s code word” was, which startled the child predator and made him drive away, while Maddison ran to the safety of her home. The sheriff praised Maddison's reaction and encouraged adults to tell her story to their children and implement the same protection strategy in their family.
In the US alone, more than 2,000 missing child reports are filed daily. A child can get abducted anywhere, even in broad daylight in front of parents or guardians. Therefore, it is essential that adults know how to prevent such crimes and that children know how to behave in potentially dangerous situations.
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We all hope that this tragedy will not ever happen to our loved ones, but still, there are several recommendations that will help you react quicker in the case of potential abduction.
- Make sure that you have recent and clear pictures of your children.
- Avoid buying clothes with the child's name printed on them, because if addressed by his or her name, a child is more likely to trust a stranger.
- Be careful when choosing babysitters, tutors, etc. Keep in mind it's not uncommon that a pedophile has turned out to be someone the victim’s parents trusted.
- Follow the example of Maddison Raines and come up with a code word that only your family will know.
- Monitor with whom the child communicates on the web.
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You can’t be too careful when it comes to safety, but parents should try to teach children safety rules without intimidating them.
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Basic rules that any child should know
- Don't take sweets or gifts from strangers, agree to go with them anywhere under any pretext, or even engage in conversation.
- Nobody has the right to touch you without your consent or do anything that causes you discomfort.
- Don't answer personal questions, talk about family members, give a home address, or share details of your daily schedule.
- Before leaving, ask for parents’ permission. (Note to parents: establish a list of places where your child can go without being accompanied by an adult.)
- It's not embarrassing to ask for help, shout, or run away.
- Only get in the car of family members or closest relatives. The same applies to opening the door.
- Don’t walk on deserted streets, especially alone.
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There is no such thing as "Oh, it won't happen to my child" when it comes to their safety. Please share this information with your friends – both those with kids and those without – so that we can increase the level of responsibility in our society.
The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.