Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Missing Children: NCMEC - National Child Safety Campaign Urges Parents to Take 25 Minutes to Talk to Children About Safety

Source: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

This May, thousands of communities across the country will hold events as a part of the fifth annual Take 25 national child safety campaign. The effort was created by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to encourage families to take 25 minutes to talk to their children about safety and abduction prevention. A website for the campaign, www.Take25.org, lists 25 safety tips for parents that can help save a child's life. The campaign begins May 1 and continues through National Missing Children's Day on May 25. This year more than 6,000 events are scheduled in more than 700 communities in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada and the Bahamas.

NCMEC has partnered with actor Tim Kang, of the hit CBS show The Mentalist to help educate parents about what they should be telling their children to keep them safe.

"As a new dad I know from personal experience how parents would do anything to protect their child from harm. Parents need to talk to their children about ways to be safe. They also need to take 25 minutes this month to talk to them about what to do if someone tries to abduct them. It could save their life," said actor Tim Kang. "The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has great resources to help parents have that discussion including a Know the Rules series of safety tips parents should routinely review with their children."

Every year in America, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing, more than 2,000 children each day. Of that number, 200,000 are abducted by family members and 58,000 are abducted by non-family members, for which the primary motive is sexual. Each year, 115 children are the victims of the most serious abductions; they are taken by non-family members and either murdered, ransomed or taken with the intent to keep. An analysis of attempted abduction cases by NCMEC found that in 83% of the cases, the child escaped would-be abductors through their own actions. Thirty-two percent actively resisted (yelling, kicking, pulling away, running away or attracting attention) while 51% recognized something was not right and responded by walking or running away.

May 25 has been observed as National Missing Children's Day since it was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. The Take 25 campaign will help parents and others teach children to be alert to potential threats and provide simple preventative steps that children can take to stay safe.

"We know teaching children about safety works. Children's actions enable them to escape attempted abductions more than half of the time. It is important that parents and others take the time to talk to their children about these issues," said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC. "The campaign is designed to provide information to make it easy for parents, grandparents and others to teach their children about safety and prevention. There is no better way to mark National Missing Children's Day than with an initiative designed to empower children and help keep them safe."

The Take 25 campaign is proudly sponsored by Lifetouch, the largest employee-owned photography company in the world. Lifetouch provides professional portraits for preschools and schools, houses of worship and the retail market in all 50 states and Canada. Other national partners of Take 25 include the United States Secret Service, Masonichip International, Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and several Minor League Baseball teams. In addition, nearly 500 other local and national organizations have partnered with NCMEC on this campaign.

This year a Take 25 event will be held on the Guantanamo Bay military base and Take 25 events will be held in all 290 U.S. Embassies around the world during the month of May. A list of cities where events will be held can be found at www.take25.org or on the Spanish language site, www.toma25.org.