Parents should talk to their children about the realities of abuse, says the head of a child safety organization.
Brad Bostock, of Child Find, said the case of Kienan Hebert, who was allegedly abducted by a stranger, is “not a typical case” in Canada.
Bostock added: “These sorts of cases get a lot of attention because of the very nature of how rare they are, but the problem is that the attention is placed on these cases, whereas children are exploited usually by people they know, people who have a connection with their family.
“Our attention can be turned away from the true situation, because we are too busy being afraid of the faceless enemy.”
Studies show that around 95 per cent of child exploitation is carried out by someone known to the child and their parents.
“It can be anybody that has a relationship with the child,” said Bostock.
“My message to parents in Sparwood after this case is, don’t think you are immune, don’t take that ‘not in my back yard’ mentality.
“I would like parents to have those really critical discussions with their children. They can be uncomfortable, they can be scary and they are easy to avoid, but they need to happen.
“A young child should know their name and number. As they get older they need to know that no matter what trouble they think they are in, they are always to phone home if they need help.
“They need to know it is never their fault – they have never asked for it, they have not welcomed it, it is not their fault. And, no matter what happens, they need to know that you love them.”