Bulletin Reports 

Family Abductions 

Authored by survivors of family abduction, Crime of Family Abduction: A Child’s and Parent’s Perspective by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention furnishes the searching family, law enforcement, and mental health professionals with strategies to build a comprehensive, child-centered approach to recovery and healing. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, as many as 200,000 children are victims of family abduction each year. Although the majority 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 and leaving traces that may last a lifetime. 

Written from the perspective of the child and the searching parent, the publication is designed to help readers understand the unique characteristics of family abduction and the nightmare that these children and parents have experienced. Although the individual circumstances 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 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.

Misperceptions about family abduction can potentially cause further trauma to the abducted child. These misperceptions also can lead to an increase in the incidence and duration of family abductions.

Readers interested in obtaining this document (NCJ 229933) can visit the National Criminal Justice Reference Service’s website, http://www.ncjrs.gov.

A child is pictured walking through a playground, guided by a parent, guardian, or perhaps stranger.