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Beyond ‘stranger danger’: Teaching children about staying safe from stranger child abduction

Every year about 50 children are abducted by a stranger. In some cases the child is sexually assaulted and, on rare occasions, murdered. Public attention will inevitably focus on these tragic cases. But the police record over 200 attempted abductions by a stranger each year. Even unsuccessful abductions are deeply disturbing to communities, parents and children alike.

This study, building on earlier work by PACT and CEOP, a National Crime Agency Command (NCA-CEOP), looks at the advice and information given to children on how to avoid abduction by a stranger. Thirty years ago simple ‘stranger-danger’ messages were common-place, and even attracted government endorsement. Our research examines whether this approach remains relevant and effective.