Definition of Parental Abduction

Parental abduction is defined as “the taking, retention, or concealment of a child or children by a parent, other family member, or their agent, in derogation of the custody rights, including visitation rights, of another parent or family member” (Girdner, 1994b, p. 1–11). Abductors may be other family members or their agents (e.g., girlfriend, boyfriend, grandparent, or even a private investigator), although in most cases the abductor is a child’s parent (Girdner, 1994c). Some State criminal statutes use the term “custodial interference”—rather than parental abduction, family abduction, or kidnapping—when referring to this crime and may include incidents in which children are detained or enticed away from the custodial parent. Custodial interference can also be defined to include interference with a court order of visitation or access.

Previous Contents Next

Parental Abduction: A Review of the Literature