Abduction: a word that makes most parents anxious. Unfortunately, this horrible crime takes place more frequently than people would like to believe, at times way close to home. Adding to the fear factor is that fact that sometimes the children do indeed know their abductor, as was the most recent case in Philadelphia, PA. In January, Naiila Robinson was abducted from her school by a woman posing as her mother. Thankfully she was found the next day, but the damage was already done. We recently discovered that the imposter was someone Nailla knew from her after school daycare facility, Christina Rugusters.
What can a parent do in attempt to prevent these types of crimes against their own children? One thing parents need to do is teach their little ones about strangers. Teach them the dangers Make kids aware that there are safer types of strangers such as police officers, firemen and mail carriers that they can turn to in an emergency, or if another unknown person approaches them or attempts to take them somewhere. Help children understand that people unknown to them should not be taking them anywhere; explain it is ok to cry out for help if a stranger does try to take them away.
Help your kids understand that people the child knows to an extent, such as the case with the case in Philadelphia in January, should not be trusted to take them anywhere, unless the parent is aware. A code word is a great tool to use in these types of situation. Pick a codeword with your children that they would need to hear to go with anyone that is not family. If the stranger or acquaintance does not provide this word, they are a threat and the child and the young person should attempt to find help. Parents should also change the word occasionally, in case knowledge of the family code becomes more common knowledge.
In cases like this, where the children do know their abductors to an extent, it is more difficult to teach that there are still dangers lurking. Children see people, even other adults, as friends and confidants. The trusting and loving nature of children makes these types of crimes even more horrific to imagine. Another preventative measure adults can take is to keep aware of their surroundings, and if anything seems off or unusual in a situation we are witness to, take action and try to assure a crime is not being committed.