Having a child go missing is every parent’s worst nightmare.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are taking steps to make sure that never happens in the first place.
The Mounties are highlighting efforts to bring missing children home safely.
Their different initiatives include the National Missing Persons Strategy, Amber Alerts, the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR), the Canada’s Missing website and the Our Missing Children (OMC) program.
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The OMC program brings together the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency, Global Affairs Canada and Justice Canada.
In March 2018 NCMPUR also launched the National Missing Persons DNA Program.
“Missing children cases are a priority for the RCMP. The Our Missing Children program is a unique partnership that allows us to work together with our partners to locate missing children,” said Roland Gosselin of the National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Human Remains.
“We are fortunate in Canada to have such a powerful and effective program that can bolster our efforts to help keep children safe from harm.”
NCMPUR works with municipal, regional, provincial and national law enforcement agencies, as well as other government agencies and non-governmental organizations.
Between 40,000 to 50,000 children are reported missing in Canada each year — 88 per cent are found safe within seven days.
Amber Alerts are another important tool in finding missing children and may only be activated by the police and are issued only for the most serious and time‑critical abduction cases.
The goal of an Amber Alert is to engage the public’s help to locate and safely return any abducted child as quickly as possible.
In 2017, seven Amber Alerts were issued, and all seven children were recovered safely.
Here are some more statistics:
- Sixty-one per cent of the 78,035 missing persons cases in 2017 involved children.
- However abductions are rare, and abductions by strangers are even rarer. In 2017, only 0.002 per cent of all missing children reports involved stranger abductions.
- Runaways account for the majority (76 per cent) of missing children reports.
- Of all the persons reported missing in a given year, approximately 500 will remain missing after one year. Missing children make up roughly 9 per cent of that 500.
- Most Amber Alerts result in children being found safely. There have been 105 Amber Alerts since the program began in December 2002, resulting in the safe return of 95 of the 105 children.
Photo courtesy of RCMP Ontario