NISMART: National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Throwaway Children logo Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention OJP Seal
J. Robert Flores,  OJJDP Administrator
October 2002


Children Abducted by Family Members: National Estimates and Characteristics

Heather Hammer, David Finkelhor, and Andrea J. Sedlak


NCJ 196466

For Further Information

NISMART Questions and Answers, a fact sheet, offers a straightforward introduction to NISMART–2. It answers anticipated questions—such as What is NISMART? Have abductions by strangers declined or increased? and Why can’t I compare NISMART–1 statistics with NISMART–2 statistics? —to help explain NISMART’s purpose, methodology, and findings.

The first Bulletin in the NISMART series, National Estimates of Missing Children: An Overview, describes the NISMART–2 component studies and estimating methodology, defines the types of episodes studied—nonfamily abduction (including stereotypical kidnapping); family abduction; runaway/thrownaway; missing involuntary, lost, or injured; and missing benign explanation—and summarizes NISMART–2 estimates of missing children.

All NISMART-related publications are available at OJJDP’s Web site,


Heather Hammer, Ph.D., is a Senior Study Director at the Temple University Institute for Survey Research, Philadelphia, PA, and Principal Investigator of NISMART–2. David Finkelhor, Ph.D., is Professor of Sociology and Director, Crimes against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, and Advisor to NISMART–2. Andrea J. Sedlak, Ph.D., is Associate Director of Human Services Research at Westat, Inc.; Project Director of the NISMART–2 Unified Estimate, Juvenile Facilities Study, and Law Enforcement Study; and Advisor to the NISMART–2 Household Survey.

Other contributors include Louise Hanson, M.A.S., Senior Study Director at the Temple University Institute for Survey Research and Director of Data Collection for the NISMART–2 Household Surveys; Michael K. Barr, M.A., Associate Study Director at the Temple University Institute for Survey Research; Dana J. Schultz, M.P.P., Policy Analyst at Westat, Inc., Operations Manager of the Juvenile Facilities Study and Law Enforcement Study, and Analyst for the Unified Estimate; Richard Ormrod, Ph.D., Research Professor of Geography at the University of New Hampshire Crimes against Children Research Center; G. Hussain Choudhry, Ph.D., Senior Statistician at Westat, Inc.; Svetlana Ryaboy, Statistician at Westat, Inc.; Monica Basena, Analyst at Westat, Inc.; and Ying Long, Programmer at Westat, Inc.

The authors extend their appreciation to Barbara Allen-Hagen, Senior Social Analyst at OJJDP and NISMART–2 Program Manager, for her support and guidance in every phase of this project. The authors also thank the many individuals who responded to the NISMART–2 surveys for their cooperation and candor.

This Bulletin was prepared under grant number 95–MC–CX–K004 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, to Temple University.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office for Victims of Crime.

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