The U.S. Department of Justice reports that as many as 200,000 children are victims of family abduction each year. Although the majority of abducted children are taken not by a stranger, but by a parent or family member, the issue of family abduction remains laden with misconception and myth.
Serious missing-child cases that have devastating effects on the child are too often seen as divorce and custody matters, something private that the public and law enforcement should not concern themselves with.
The truth is that family abduction can be as physically dangerous and even deadly for the child victims as any other form of child abduction. Most often, however, the worst damage is imperceptible to the eye, occurring deep within the child, leaving traces that may last a lifetime.
Written from the perspective of the child and searching parent, material below are designed to help the reader understand the unique characteristics of family abduction and the nightmare that they have experienced.
Although the individual circumstances surrounding the authors’ cases show the multifaceted diversity of family abduction, the one thing they have in common is that they were all missing child cases. The child victims in these cases were concealed by their abductor, hidden not just from their searching family, friends, schools, and community but also from the justice and child protection systems.
Free Publications Available:
“The Crime of Family Abduction: A Child’s and Parent’s Perspective” reveals why the abduction of children by noncustodial family members is a serious crime that must be treated as such.
“When Your Child Is Missing: A Family Survival Guide” is the fourth edition of this pioneering guide for families of missing children written by parents of missing children.
“The Crime of Family Abduction: A Child’s and Parent’s Perspective” is available online at ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/publications/PubAbstract.asp?pubi=251965.
Print copies may be ordered at www.ncjrs.gov/App/ShoppingCart/ShopCart.aspx?item=NCJ+229933.
“When Your Child Is Missing: A Family Survival Guide” is available online at ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/publications/PubAbstract.asp?pubi=250759.
Print copies may be ordered at www.ncjrs.gov/App/ShoppingCart/ShopCart.aspx?item=NCJ+228735.