The number of missing, abused, neglected, and exploited children in the U.S. has grown to epidemic levels since the late 1990s.
Every year more than 3 million reports of child maltreatment are made to state and local agencies in the U.S. involving more than 6 million children.
Information and Advice from HCCP2:
Protect our children from violence. ~ Constable Chris Diaz
The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between 4 and 7 children every day to child abuse and neglect (National Criminal Justice Reference Service, 2015).
The most recent figures from the 2014 Children’s Defense Fund’s Annual State of America’s Children report that 1,825 children are abused or neglected each day in the U.S.
Statistics on Missing and Exploited Children
The recent statistics are very alarming:
_ More than one-quarter (27.3%) of victims were younger than 3 years when reported missing.
_ Almost 70% of children that are victims of child abuse are under the age of four.
_ More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator. (American Society for the Positive Care of Children, 2015, http://www.americanspcc.org/advocacy/child-abuse-statistics/?gclid=CJv4oY7n4sUCFQ-SaQod32UA5w)
_ As of April 2015, the CyberTipline received more than 3 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation since it was launched in 1998. Suspected child sexual exploitation can be reported to the CyberTipline at www.cybertipline.com or 1-800-843-5678.
_ As of April 2015, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) Child Victim Identification Program reviewed and analyzed more than 139 million child pornography images since it was created in 2002.
_ 1 in 6 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 2014 were likely sex trafficking victims.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is the leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and resource center providing services for law enforcement, families and the public to help find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation and prevent child victimization. Designated by Congress to serve as the nation’s clearinghouse on these issues, NCMEC operates a hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678), and has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 199,000 children.
The NCMEC also operates the CyberTipline. The tipline is a mechanism for reporting suspected child pornography, child sex trafficking and other forms of child sexual exploitation. Since it was created in 1998, more than 4.7 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation have been received, and more than 143 million suspected child pornography images have been reviewed.
The NCMEC works alongside the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, visit www.missingkids.com. Follow NCMEC on Twitter and like NCMEC on Facebook.
Safety Tips for the Protection of Children
As the 2015 school year ends and summer begins, the Texas Center for the Missing recommends several tips to keep children safe in their hometowns and on vacation. Since most crimes involving children are crimes of opportunity, there are several effective and common sense methods for protecting children.
By following these tips, we can minimize the chances of your child becoming a victim:
1. Keep an up-to-date photo (both digital and hard copy) and a complete child ID kit on each child.
2. Know where your children are at all times — know friends’ names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.
3. Know your child’s online habits (e.g., favorite websites, personal profiles, email addresses and passwords).
4. Help children understand who “strangers” are. Familiar faces (e.g., ice cream man or mail carrier) do not always register as strangers to small children, yet they may be opportunists that may harm your child.
5. Never leave a child alone in a public place or allow a child to enter a public restroom alone.
6. Never put a child’s name on clothes or toys. Children are more likely to approach someone when called by name.
7. Check references for babysitters and be wary of older friends.
8. Discuss with your child how the police can help if they are in a frightening situation and how to get their help.
9. Visit www.nsopr.gov AND records.txdps.state.tx.us to check for registered sex offenders in your area.
10. Call the police IMMEDIATELY if you cannot find your child. Fast action is critical.
To learn more and request a Child ID Kit and safety information, contact Texas Center for the Missing at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713.599.0235 or www.centerforthemissing.org.
For Additional Research
The websites and sources listed below represent the most up-to-date information available on the topic of child abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
Center on Child Abuse and Neglect
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) http://www.cwla.org/
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)
NCJRS: Child Abuse Special Feature https://www.ncjrs.gov/childabuse/
For more Internet Safety Facts visit www.netsmartz.org/InternetSafety.
U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ): Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS)
Definitions of child abuse and neglect.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau.