An article titled “Child-abduction study finds capable kids are their own best defense” in the September 5 on-line edition of the Washington Post describes a recent study of 4,200 kidnapping attempts by non-family members.
I get upset when people minimize the importance of teaching children personal safety skills to protect themselves because “stranger abductions almost never happen.” Yes, the reality is that most of the time, children are harmed by people they know rather than by people they don’t – but this issue is still important. In any case, personal safety skills taught in an empowering, effective way can prepare children to prevent and protect themselves from many kinds of dangers.
The loss of even one child is a huge tragedy. Current studies estimate that between 300-500 children die in the US each year after being kidnapped by strangers and the heartbreak that goes with each loss is enormous. If we might prevent the loss of even one child in a way that can empower countless children, this is worth doing!
Second of all, there are an estimated over 100,000 attempted abductions by non-family members in the US each year. The impact of each abduction attempt can be traumatic for the child and her or his family, neighborhood, and school.
A couple of years ago, I was teaching a parent education workshop that had been organized in response to one of these attempts in a small town where people had felt safe. During the evening, two different parents described very frightening abduction attempts that had happened to them as children that had never been reported. In both cases, they eventually escaped before being harmed, but it was a very close call. Their fear, even after many years, was still tremendous – and they wanted to teach their children to know what to do without passing that fear on to them.
Kidpower prepares parents, teachers, and other caring adults to empower children to be safe both with people they know and people they don’t. Our Positive Practice Teaching Method makes rehearsing skills fun and successful instead of upsetting and difficult. The “People Safety” skills we teach can prevent and stop most abduction, bullying, abuse, and other violence – and help build healthy relationships. Visit our website for our free on-line Library, low-cost cartoon-illustrated publications for sale, and information about our workshops. For more information, please see our Stranger Safety Resource page.
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