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OPP is dispelling the myth of 'stranger danger'

According to Statistics Canada, about 88 per cent of all sexual offences were committed by an individual known to the victim, with 12 per cent committed by a stranger.
2022-02-04 OPPRecruit Stock
File photo.


THUNDER BAY -- The Ontario Provincial Police North West Region is urging parents/guardians to educate themselves about child sexual abuse and to have age-appropriate conversations with youth about their personal safety.

According to Statistics Canada, about nine in 10 (88 per cent) of all sexual offences were committed by an individual known to the victim, with the remainder (12 per cent) committed by a stranger. More specifically, the accused person was an acquaintance of the victim in 44 per cent of incidents, a family member in 38 per cent of incidents and an intimate partner[i] six per cent of the time. Based on police-reported data, infants and toddlers were most likely to be victimized by a family member while older children were most often victimized by an acquaintance or stranger.

It is important to remember that child sexual abuse can also occur online. There are several ways for parents/guardians to protect their children, including:

  • Being involved and knowing their child's online activities;
  • Reminding children to protect their passwords and not share with others;
  • Using caution with web cameras (unplug web cameras when they are not in use);
  • Being aware of who they are talking to before allowing them to turn on a web camera;
  • Making sure children are cautious with what content they post online; and,
  • Knowing their online friends the same way they know friends in real life.

For more online safety tips, visit The Canadian Centre for Child Protection offers a number of resources designed to help parents have age-appropriate conversations with their children from a young age. For teens and tweens, there is also information on healthy relationships.

"It is our shared responsibility as a society to protect children, but police cannot do it alone," says Detective Staff Sgt. Sharon Hanlon of the OPP Child Sexual Exploitation Unit. "Parents and guardians need to educate themselves and their children on personal safety. Together, we can provide victims the support they need and hold those who prey upon the most vulnerable members of our society accountable."

If a child is in danger, always call 9-1-1. You can also contact the OPP's non-emergency line at 1-888-310-1122 to report child safety issues. Alternatively, you can provide information anonymously by contacting Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at


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