When it comes to keeping your children safe, supervision is critical.
Monique St. Germain with The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (CCCP) knows this may sound obvious, but it bears repeating.
She notes that as technology develops, so do the ways you can keep tabs on your kids.
“A big part of supervision might then migrate to things like having regular check-ins with parents. Children who carry phones can perhaps regularly text and let parents know where they are, who they’re with, what they’re doing and when they’re going to be home.”
Today is International Missing Children’s Day, the 30th year it has been marked in Canada. As part of recognizing the day, the CCCP has joined up with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to work on a pilot project.
The aim is to enhance officer knowledge and training for identifying situations involving missing children. The CBSA says they have found more than 1,800 missing children since starting their “Our Missing Children” program in 1986.
When it comes to the number of cases of missing children in Canada, St. Germain says that strides have been made.
“Most of the missing children’s agencies actually started in the 80’s. I would say that it’s gone down from the 80’s, which would have been sort of a high point. Parents are much more protective and children aren’t out and about the same way they used to be.”
The CCCP also released the findings of a report, looking at 147 instances since 1970 where a child was abducted and murdered. They found that 84% of victims were female, 92% of offenders were male, and 69% of offenders were under the age of 30.
Over half of those convicted had a previous criminal record, and St. Germain finds it disturbing that people are able to re-offend, though the findings should be taken with a grain of salt.
“This is a problem that we have. Part of what it tells us is the circumstances under which we monitor people when they are in the community is important,” St. Germain says. “You have to remember that these cases did span a period of time and there have been a number of changes in Canada. We now have a sex offender registry, sentences imposed for offences against children are greater than they used to be. But we still have a lot to learn and a ways to go.”
Winnipeg police also want to remind parents of a few things on this day, like knowing who your childrens’ friends are, talking to them about personal safety issues, and to have recent photographs of your kids with you in the event that they do suddenly go missing.
Specific resources for families can be found at missingkids.ca.