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NCJ Number: 201254 Find in a Library
Title: "Kid Is With a Parent, How Bad Can It Be?": The Crisis of Family Abductions
Author(s): Ernie Allen
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: National Ctr for Missing and Exploited Children
Alexandria, VA 22314-3175
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 98-MC-CK-K002
Sale Source: National Ctr for Missing and Exploited Children
Charles B. Wang InternationalChildren's Building
699 Prince Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-3175
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After examining the scope and consequences of family abductions of children (a noncustodial parent abducts a child from a custodial parent), this paper presents an overview of the challenges and opportunities for the policymakers in addressing this problem.
Abstract: The 1990 U.S. Department of Justice National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children found that in 1988 there were as many as 354,100 cases of family abductions of children. Some 163,200 of these cases involved concealment of the child, transportation out of the State, or intent to keep the child permanently. At least 70,000-75,000 of the children abducted were seriously harmed -- mentally, physically, and/or sexually -- as a result of the abduction. This problem is likely to grow given the increased number of divorces among parents with young children and a number of factors that have increased the likelihood of child-custody disputes. Thus, the abduction of children by family members is a significant public-policy challenge and a threat to the health and safety of thousands of children. This paper presents recommendations in the areas of law enforcement, legislation, prevention, the need for experts/standardization, pro-bono legal services, school programs, and victim services. Regarding the law enforcement response, the author recommends that police officials respond to family abductions in accordance with the criminal laws of every State, which make such abductions a felony. These cases should be seriously investigated by law enforcement agents with appropriate knowledge and expertise. In the area of legislation, statutes should be upgraded to apply significant sanctions to family kidnappers, and States should recognize and honor the custody orders of other States. There must be greater uniformity in procedures in the registration and enforcement of custody orders interstate. The recommendation for prevention is to reduce child-custody conflicts between divorcing parents by keeping child-custody issues out of the adversarial process as long as possible. Other recommendations are that bar associations initiate pro-bono campaigns for family abduction cases, that schools be used as an important resource for locating abducted children, and that special assistance be available to counsel and assist victims of these abductions in their transition and readjustment after being recovered.
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child Abduction; Child abuse; Crime specific countermeasures; Law reform; OJJDP grant-related documents; Police responsibilities; Victim services
Note: Downloaded July 15, 2003.
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