While cases of stranger abductions of children in Canada are extremely rare, the impacts of such events on communities and the general public are significant. The term stranger abduction is used to describe situations where a child is taken by a complete stranger. The term non-family abduction is used to describe situations where a child is abducted by someone who is outside of their family, however may be familiar to the child — such as a neighbour or a family acquaintance.
It can often be very difficult to detect that a stranger abduction is occurring. While it can sometime be very obvious (e.g., a child forcefully taken), it can also be less obvious (e.g., a child appears to go voluntarily with or to an adult). All that is required is for a child to be taken out of the possession of, without the consent of, and against the will of the parent or guardian.
If you suspect that your child has been abducted, report to police immediately. In Canada, there is no minimum period of time required before reporting your child missing.
What to pay attention to when assessing the risk of your child being abducted by a stranger/non-family member.
What to do to help reduce the risk of your child being abducted by a stranger/non-family member.
What to do immediately after you become aware your child has been abducted by a stranger/non-family member.
The information provided above is intended for information purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice. Readers should assess all information in light of their own circumstances, the age and maturity level of the child they wish to protect, and any other relevant factors.