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Thread: Stranger Danger

  1. #1
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    Default Stranger Danger

    Stranger Danger
    Summer May Be Fun for Kids, But Free Time Puts Them at Risk of Abduction

    By Dean Schabner

    May 21 When a tattooed man with a nose ring recently tried to abduct an 8-year-old girl in suburban Austin, Texas, the young karate student was ready for him.

    But she didn't respond to the would-be kidnapper with a blow to the solar plexus she had a more prepared plan. When the stranger said her parents had told him to come pick the girl up and bring her home, she asked him for the password her family had worked out.

    "When she asked him that, the guy didn't know what to say," Cedar Park, Texas, police Lt. Jeff Hayes said. "He kind of stumbled and fumbled and then tried to grab her."

    But by that time, the girl's 11-year-old brother had arrived, and when he started shouting for help, the would-be kidnapper let go of the girl and ran off.

    That attempted abduction was the first of three in the Cedar Park area over recent weeks, Hayes said. It reflects a trend around the country that as the weather gets warmer and children spend more time outside, often unsupervised by adults, the incidence of non-family abductions and attempted abductions rises.

    "I think the reason for this is very clear it's an unstructured time for children," said Robert Flores, the administrator of the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency. "Any unstructured time the weekends, the evening, the time between school and when parents come home from work is a vulnerable time for children."

    Better Chilled Than Unaware

    The series of high-profile child abductions last year including 5-year-old Samantha Runnion, 7-year-old Danielle Van Dam and 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart helped to raise the public's awareness of the dangers of child abduction, Flores and other law enforcement officials say.
    ...snip

    "You can't protect yourself from things you're really not aware of," Flores said. "If there was anything good that came out of last year, it was that people realized that this happens to teenagers and to infants, that it doesn't just happen to low-income families. It does send a little chill to parents, but I would rather have them chilled and taking action than unaware."
    ...snip

    According to the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children, released by the Justice Department in October 2002, there were an estimated 58,200 child victims of non-family abduction in 1999. Non-family abductions include incidents when a child is taken by any non-family member, whether it is a friend or acquaintance or a complete stranger.

    A Sexual Crime

    Perhaps as chilling as the number of non-family abductions that occur, is what happens to a child who is taken.

    The motivation in most of the cases, no matter the age of the child, is sexual, said Ben Armini, the director of the missing children division of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

    "The majority are short-term. The child is assaulted, molested and released within a short term," he said.

    A study by the Washington State attorney general's office found that of 600 non-family abductions in which the child was eventually found dead, the child was killed in the first three hours after the kidnapping.

    For that reason, parents need to increase their awareness of where their children are, so that if they are abducted, police will be alerted quickly.

    "We want them to get out, get to know their neighbors, get to know their kids' friends' parents, create a communication network," Hayes said. "If you're sending your kid over to somebody's house, they need to call as soon as they get there or you need to call there and sure they got there."

    Federal Action

    The media coverage of last year's cases helped to spur President Bush to call a child safety summit last October, and on April 30 he invited Elizabeth Smart and several other kidnap victims to the White House for a ceremony to announce the Child Protection Act, which includes a national Amber Alert system.

    The FBI has increased the amount of work it does with local police through its 30 Internet Crimes Against Children task force offices around the country, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has organized teams of law enforcement consultants to work with local police who request their help on abduction cases.
    ...snip

    But at every level, law enforcement officials agree that communities could be doing more.

    In Cedar Park, the three attempted abductions spurred neighbors to work out systems to have at least one adult outside at all times when children were out playing, and put out signs warning predators to stay away. They instituted community watch programs that Hayes said not only protected their children, but cut down drastically on crime in general.
    ...snip

    Community involvement, though, according to Hayes, Flores and other child abduction experts, is one of the most effective preventative measures.

    The most important thing is for parents to talk to their children about the issue, and take steps such as creating a password that only the family knows, so acquaintances can't prey on their children.
    ...snip


    abcnews.go.com/sections/us/Living/child_abduction030521.html
    Never let the children, Elders, the sick, or the infirm be exploited.


    "I love everything that's old: old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines." Oliver Goldsmith


    Let's bring all our missing and military home safely!


    All of my thoughts written here are my constitutionally protected opinion.

    I reject any form of government in which the opinion of the village idiot is given the same weight as the opinion of Aristotle. (author unknown)


  2. #2
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    Default Abduction aftereffects require attention

    Posted on Wed, Jun. 11, 2003

    Abduction aftereffects require attention
    By Jessica Portner
    Mercury News

    An inner voice keeps telling you to beware. Your friends at school are strangely distant. Your parents have problems of their own, blaming themselves for what happened to you. And you can't stop dreaming about the intruder.

    For traumatized children -- like the 9-year-old San Jose girl who was found Sunday after being abducted and sexually abused -- such disturbing thoughts may linger for weeks, or even years.

    How a victim's parents, friends, neighbors and school officials react, mental health experts say, can help a young victim reclaim a lost childhood -- or make an ordeal even worse.

    ``For children who are abducted in their youth, their faith that the world is a safe place may be shaken,'' said David Arredondo, the medical director and psychiatrist at EMQ, a San Jose medical facility that works with sexually abused kids. ``In the long term, the response will depend on the support around them.''

    Research in child psychiatry has found that traumatized children frequently suffer from an onslaught of emotions, including anger, self-doubt, guilt, shame and fear. Abducted children tend to become hyper-vigilant -- closing windows or never venturing out alone -- and may also become compulsive or hyperactive.

    Children who have been sexually assaulted may try to make themselves less attractive to hide their sexuality, or may go the other way and become promiscuous.
    ...snip

    ``A child's recovery is linked to how their parents are coping, so it's important to get parents' help because it's a trauma for them,'' said Wood. ``Trauma reverberates through the whole family.''

    Schools can also help or hinder a recovery, said Georgia Hilgeman-Hammond, executive director and founder of the Vanished Children's Alliance in San Jose.
    ...snip

    ``Some are very resilient, and others are nervous,'' said Tom Burgei, director of learning communities in the district. ``We have the resources to respond and continue to respond.''

    http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercuryne...on/6061853.htm
    Never let the children, Elders, the sick, or the infirm be exploited.


    "I love everything that's old: old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines." Oliver Goldsmith


    Let's bring all our missing and military home safely!


    All of my thoughts written here are my constitutionally protected opinion.

    I reject any form of government in which the opinion of the village idiot is given the same weight as the opinion of Aristotle. (author unknown)




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