Parental Abductions

If the child is with one of the parents, should we really be concerned for his/her safety?

Taken from family, home, and friends by a parent or other family member, children are thrust into a life of uncertainty and isolation. This instant loss of what they are used to can lead to a lasting depression, the loss of a sense of security or stability, a compromised ability to trust oneself or others and a fear of abandonment.

Family abductions:

  • Are a child welfare issue;
  • Have probable long-term psychological and social effects on the abducted child.

Facts about child abductions:

  • Few child abductions are committed by strangers.
  • The most common form of child abduction is by a parent or family member.
  • Parental child abduction is one of the most misunderstood forms of child abuse.
  • If one parent has taken or keeps a child from the other parent, civil enforcement options through the Directorate of Children’s Services (Children’s Office) may be available.

Why do parents kidnap their own children?

The motive for family abduction often results when disputes over custody of a child cannot be satisfactorily resolved or when one parent abducts the child to express control, anger or revenge over the other parent.

The child often struggles with difficult feelings towards both parents including fear, guilt, shame, confusion and divided loyalty. These children are traumatized, forced into living like fugitives, or plunged into instability and in some cases a life of deprivation and neglect.

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