A child advocate is an adult who -- either privately, professionally or through involvement with child advocacy organizations -- works tirelessly to protect the best interests of children in his or her community. Child advocates take proactive measures to protect the rights of children who are too often the victims of abuse, neglect and mistreatment.
One of the primary concerns of any child advocate relates to abduction. How do we prevent the abduction of children in our communities?
Teach children these anti-abduction tips
If you're a child advocate, or simply a concerned citizen, make sure your fellow community members and children learn about the following anti-child abduction recommendations:
- Public restrooms, fairs, carnivals and malls are common places where child abductions happen. Be on the lookout in these areas.
- Children should not enter public restrooms without an adult accompanying them.
- Children should never be left by themselves in vehicles.
- Children must learn their rights to say "no" to adults in situations that make them feel uncomfortable. If a child is with an adult who is making him or her feel funny or strange, it doesn't matter what the adult says, the child can say, "No!"
- Adults should always admit when they're wrong to kids. This teaches children that they are sometimes right and the adult is sometimes wrong, giving the child more confidence to speak out based on his or her own situational judgments.
- Warn children about not getting into vehicles belonging to adults who are not their parents or other caregivers. Tell children that bad people will sometimes try to offer them candy or gifts to entice them into their cars — and they should never accept anything.
- Teach children that bad people may ask children for favors, like finding a lost puppy. Teach children not to go off with someone else unless a parent or caregiver has given permission.
- Teach children the two arms' length rule. Your child shouldn't allow a stranger to get within two arms' length of them, and they should not approach a strange car within two arms' length. Especially, they should not lean against or into a vehicle to talk with someone.
Help children in your community by becoming a child advocate
Children need advocates from the community to watch out for them. If you spot a child who looks like he or she has been abducted or otherwise victimized, you may want to ensure that he or she is okay. Whether you're a lawyer, social worker, medical practitioner or simply a concerned citizen, as a child advocate, you may be able to help.