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

Published Wednesday, Jul 20, 2016

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

LIVONIA, Mich., July 20, 2016: 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
  • 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 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: 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 Follow NCMEC on Twitter and like NCMEC on Facebook.

Media Contacts

Mary Broaddus