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Stranger/Non-family Abduction:Immediate Steps

Call your local police agency immediately to file a missing person report

In Canada, you do not have to wait to report your child missing — there is no minimum period of time required before reporting to police.

When speaking with police, be prepared to provide:

  • A physical description and recent photo of your child
  • Where and when your child was last seen
  • Information about your child (e.g., behaviour, mental health, relationships with family and friends)
  • Information about any medical condition your child has that requires attention
  • A list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of your child’s friends and family members
  • Any other information that may help police. For example, tell them about any threats against you or your child. Even seemingly unrelated incidents, such as break-ins, violence, relationship problems, bullying incidents, online activities, etc. need to be shared with the police.

Attempt to locate your child

  • Have one person make a report to police and wait at home
  • Immediately get others to canvas the specific area where your child was last seen or the area where your child was expected to be
  • If your child has a smartphone and you are unsure of their last location, use the smartphone to help determine their last location

Contact Helpline

1-866-KID-TIPS (543-8477)
Contact us

Complete our online intake form caseworkers are here to provide support and assistance in the search for your child. We can help by:

  • Offering emotional support and helping manage the unknowns of searching for your missing child
  • Liaising with other agencies involved with your child/family and the search (e.g., police, child welfare)
  • Providing information and guidance on using traditional media, social media and other methods to raise awareness about your missing child
  • Using our MissingKidsALERT public notification system in cases where public notification and assistance has been deemed valuable
  • Connecting your family to appropriate support services

Engage the public in your search

In most stranger/non-family abduction cases, the media are notified quickly. Media notification will most likely be coordinated by law enforcement. When connecting with media, it is important to seek guidance from law enforcement and to work with support agencies (such as For more information about media and how to engage the public in your search, contact a caseworker.

The information provided above is intended for information purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice. Readers should assess all information in light of their own circumstances, the age and maturity level of the child they wish to protect, and any other relevant factors.