Valassis and National Center for Missing & Exploited Children Offer Safety Tips to Help Prevent Abductions and Online Solicitations This Summer

LIVONIA, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As children across the nation are embracing their summer vacations and
time away from school, Valassis,
a leader in intelligent media delivery, and the National
Center for Missing & Exploited Children
(NCMEC) remind parents
and their children to keep safety top of mind.

According to the FBI, in
2015
there were 460,699 reports of missing children made to law
enforcement in the United States. Also that year, NCMEC’s CyberTipline
received more than 4.4 million reports of suspected child sexual
exploitation. During the summer months, when children tend to be home
alone more often, spending time outdoors and are less supervised, they
and their parents should take extra precautions to help prevent
abductions and sexual exploitation.

“Last year, we assisted law enforcement with more than 13,700 cases of
missing children, said John F. Clark, president and CEO, NCMEC.
“While most of those children are recovered safely, we believe no child
should ever be at risk of abduction or exploitation. With this in mind,
we aim to educate parents and children to be mindful of potential
dangers around them and summer is a great opportunity for families to
start conversations about safety.”

Top safety tips to teach children include the following:

  • Check first with parents or guardians before going anywhere, helping
    anyone, accepting anything or getting into a car.
  • Take a friend when going places or playing outside.
  • Always tell a trusted adult if anything makes them feel sad, scared or
    confused.
  • Know their telephone number and address, as well as alternate contact
    information, such as parent names, mobile and work phone numbers and
    details for other trusted adults.
  • Have a list of homes they may visit when you are not there, as well as
    where they may and may not go in the neighborhood.
  • Do not open the door unless they are instructed by a trusted adult.
  • Never tell anyone they are home alone; this would include sharing this
    information on social media.

Additional safety tips for parents to keep in mind are:

  • Know your child’s habits, including their friends and online activity;
    check in with them often and ask them to check in with you.
  • Check references with babysitters and child care providers and also
    check the national sex offender registry at www.nsopw.gov.
  • Ask camps and summer programs if they complete background screenings
    on individuals working with children.
  • Set reasonable rules and guidelines for computer, cell phone and
    tablet use.
  • Remind children to be careful online and not reveal personal
    information about themselves through photos, videos or messages.
  • If you suspect that your child is a victim of sexual exploitation,
    including someone talking to your child about sex or sharing and
    asking them to share sexual images, make a report to NCMEC at www.CyberTipline.com
    or 1-800-THE-LOST© (1-800-843-5678).

“Through our joint effort with NCMEC and the U.S. Postal Service, we are
dedicated to locating missing children and raising public awareness on
the issue of missing and exploited children,” said Victor Nichols,
CEO of Valassis
. “We also hope that through regular education and
awareness, we can help prevent future abductions and exploitation – and
therefore urge parents to review safety precautions with their families
this summer.”

In a joint effort with NCMEC and the U.S. Postal Service, Valassis’
“Have You Seen Me?” photo program reaches millions of households weekly
in print and online with images of missing children. The program has
delivered hope to missing children and their families since 1985 and to
date, 158 children have been recovered as a direct result. Additionally,
the “Have You Seen Me?” app for iPhone® makes it even easier to view
photos of missing children. For more information about this and other
programs dedicated to the safety of our nation’s children, visit NCMEC
at: missingkids.org.
If you know the whereabouts of a missing child, call NCMEC’s 24-hour
hotline at: 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

About Valassis

Valassis
is a leader in intelligent media delivery, providing over 58,000 clients
with innovative media solutions to influence consumers wherever they
plan, shop, buy and share. By integrating online and offline data
combined with powerful insights, Valassis precisely targets its clients’
most valuable shoppers, offering unparalleled reach and scale. NCH
Marketing Services, Inc. and Clipper Magazine are Valassis subsidiaries,
and RedPlum® is its consumer brand. Its signature Have You Seen Me?®
program delivers hope to missing children and their families. Valassis
is a wholly owned subsidiary of Harland
Clarke Holdings Corp.

About the National Center for Missing &
Exploited Children

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is the leading
501(c) (3) nonprofit organization working with law enforcement, families
and the professionals who serve them on issues relating to missing and
sexually exploited children. Established in 1984 and authorized by
Congress to serve as the nation’s clearinghouse on these issues, NCMEC
operates a hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678), and has assisted
law enforcement in the recovery of more than 218,000 children. NCMEC
also operates the CyberTipline, a mechanism for reporting child
pornography, child sex trafficking and other forms of child sexual
exploitation. Since it was created in 1998, more than 10 million reports
of suspected child sexual exploitation have been received, and more than
158 million suspected child pornography images have been reviewed. NCMEC
works in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC,
visit www.missingkids.org.
Follow NCMEC on Twitter and
like NCMEC on Facebook.

Contacts

Valassis
Mary Broaddus, 734-591-7375
broaddusm@valassis.com
or
NCMEC
Media
703-837-6111
media@ncmec.org