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May 25th is Missing Children’s Day

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection shares the single most effective way to reduce the risk of a child going missing

For Immediate Release

Winnipeg, MB: Today on International Missing Children’s Day, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (Canadian Centre) is reaching out to all parents to educate them about the single most effective way to reduce the risk of a child going missing.

Through over 30 years of working with families of missing children, the Canadian Centre has witnessed the impacts of a missing child on families and communities. “It’s our hope that not another child goes missing,” said Christy Dzikowicz, director of at the Canadian Centre. “While we know that we cannot always prevent these terrible tragedies, we must learn from them in order to better protect children.”

In a recent study from the Canadian Centre titled “Abducted then Murdered Children: A Canadian Study (Preliminary Results)” which closely examined 147 cases between 1970 and 2010, we know:1

  • In 68% of these cases,2 the child was alone when abducted.
  • 41% of the abductions occurred in June, July or August.
  • Across all age groups, 53% were last seen between the hours of 3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.3
  • 45% occurred on a Friday or Saturday.
  • 67% were in-transit at the time of abduction (i.e. walking, biking), such as travelling to school, a friend’s home or a nearby park or mall.4

Armed with this information, as the end of school year approaches the Canadian Centre is encouraging all parents to talk to their children about the importance of the Buddy System. As children reach the teenage years and have more freedom and independence, the Buddy System is more critical than ever. The study revealed that being alone was one of the most significant risk factors for abduction.

“It seems simple, but the Buddy System is the most effective strategy that reduces the risk of children being abducted,” said Dzikowicz. “We see this across age groups – from when children are small all the way up to the vulnerable young adult years. The Buddy System is the number one way of keeping our kids safe in situations that may have been preventable.”

“So many families have been impacted by the disappearance of young people too many times,” said Audrey North, cousin of Christine Wood. “Our children are up against so much and face many risks as they grow and gain independence. We need to encourage our youth to stick together in order to help keep them safe. There are many unanswered questions for so many families, at least in part because their missing family member was last seen alone.”

1. Percentages below are not all out of 147 cases (referred to as instances in the study), as some information was not known for all 147 cases.

2. It could not be determined for all 147 cases if the child was alone. The 68% is in reference to 124 cases.

3. It could not be determined for all 147 cases when the child was last seen. The 53% refers to 107 of the cases.

4. It could not be determined for all 147 cases what the child was doing at the time of abduction. The 67% refers to 120 of the cases.


About the Canadian Centre for Child Protection: The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is a national charity dedicated to the personal safety and protection of children. Our goal is to reduce the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, assist in the location of missing children and to prevent child victimization. The Canadian Centre operates – Canada’s national tipline to report child sexual abuse and exploitation on the Internet, as well as other prevention and intervention services to the Canadian public.

About the Child Safety Family Advocacy Division and is part of the Canadian Centre’s Child Safety and Family Advocacy Division (CSFAD). CSFAD provides support to Canadian families whose children are missing, have been recovered, or have been sexually abused and exploited. CSFAD also works with families, law enforcement and child welfare agencies to help prevent and respond to situations where a child is at risk of going missing or being sexually exploited.

About International Missing Children’s Day: May 25th was proclaimed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan as Missing Children’s Day in 1983 following the disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz on May 25, 1979 from New York City. Solicitor General Perrin Beatty first declared Canada’s participation in Missing Children’s Day in 1986. International Missing Children’s Day is now recognized throughout North America and Europe as an annual reminder to make child protection a priority and renew efforts to reunite missing children with their families.

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