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OJJDP Bulletin Presents Latest Findings on Child Abductions by Strangers

June 16, 2016

Kidnappings 2011

OJJDP has released “Child Victims of Stereotypical Kidnappings Known to Law Enforcement in 2011.” This bulletin summarizes findings about child kidnappings by strangers and acquaintances (called stereotypical kidnappings by the authors) in 2011 based on data from the law enforcement component of the third National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART), sponsored by OJJDP. The authors compared 2011 data with NISMART–2 data collected in 1997. Key findings include:

  • An estimated 105 children were kidnapped by strangers or slight acquaintances in the survey year in cases that law enforcement investigated as a stereotypical kidnapping, similar to the estimate in the 1997 survey (115 children).
  • Most kidnappings involved the use of force or threats, and about three in five victims were sexually assaulted, abused, or exploited.
  • Victims were, most commonly, ages 12 to 17, girls, white, and living in situations other than with two biological or adoptive parents. Half of all stereotypical kidnappings in 2011 were sexually motivated crimes against adolescent girls.
  • Fewer stereotypical kidnappings ended in homicide in 2011 than in 1997 (8 percent versus 40 percent). Cases involving 92 percent of the victims in 2011 ended when the child was recovered, compared to 57 percent in 1997.


Find more bulletins in OJJDP’s National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children series.

Read the press release.

Visit OJJDP’s Missing and Exploited Children's Program website.

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