Parental child abduction victimizes more than 354,000 U.S. families each year.
This crime is widely misunderstood by those not directly affected by the crime, including some law enforcement and government officials, who are under the misconception that children are inherently safe when they are with an abducting parent. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
“Child stealing is child abuse…..Children are used as both objects and weapons in the struggle between the parents which leads to the brutalization of the children psychologically, specifically destroying their sense of trust in the world around them…..We must re-conceptualize child stealing as child abuse of the most flagrant sort.” -Dr. Dorothy Huntington
Parental Child Abduction is not an act done out of love for the child. The primary goal of the parental child abductor is to get even with the other parent. The abductor victimizes the left-behind family by depriving them of visitation or custodial rights and in the process psychologically torturing them with worry and grief. Statistically, half of parental child abductors have criminal records and most have a history of violent behavior, substance abuse or emotional disturbance. Gender doesn’t matter. Both fathers and mothers abduct equally and 15% of the time the abduction is with force or violence. Half of family abductions occur before the relationship between parents end while half occur 2 or more years after divorce or separation, usually after parents develop new households, new relationships, move away or are frustrated with the legal system. Once abducted, the children are at the mercy of the abducting parent, who, in hiding, avoids scrutiny by police, doctors, counselors, and child protective services.
The victimization that children suffer when taken by a parent is no less than that of children taken by a stranger, yet the response of society varies considerably. It is this variance that lessens the chance of aggressive investigation by law enforcement or from the public intervening. The left behind families are left in a constant state of emotional turmoil, never knowing if their children are safe, where they are, or whether they’ll ever see them again.
Even if a family is lucky enough to find their children, life is never the same again. Families must start over, attend counseling (sometimes for years and years) and in many states must face allowing the children to have visitation with the abductor again and the possibility of re-abduction.
Education, awareness and stronger penalties for parental child abductors are key in the fight to keep children safe and deter would be parental abductors. Unfortunately, the process has been slow across the 50 United States. Some states do not even recognize parental child abduction as a crime while others treat it with the severity it deserves. Until the justice systems in all 50 states uniformly handles the issue with severe punishment, the lives of innocent children will continue to be destroyed in mounting numbers.
DAMAGE TO THE ABDUCTED VICTIM CHILD
- Alteration to Appearance -The abducted child’s appearance is often altered (hair cut and dyed, etc.,).
- Name Change – The abducted child’s name is often changed, with young children sometimes never knowing their true identity.
- Loss of true identity – The child is stripped of his true identity. He loses out on the love of his left-behind family and his roots.
- Health Neglect – The abducted child is often medically & physically neglected as abducting parents have the worry that their child may be discovered to be missing.
- Unstable Education – Abducted children receive unstable schooling as moves for them are common and getting proper paperwork to schools to enroll your child can be difficult under a new name.
- Unstable Living Conditions – Abducted children have unstable living conditions as they are on the run from the law, and often end up homeless or moving frequently.
- Lies and more lies – Abducted children are often told lies about the abduction and the left-behind parent. They can form a false hatred for the left-behind parent and family. Sometimes they are even told the left-behind parent is dead or in jail or doesn’t want them.
- The Life of Fugitives – Abducted children live the lives of fugitives. They are taught not to trust anyone, not to tell about their past, and live a life on the run. They have no opportunity to establish relationships with friends.
- Psychological and Emotional Distress – as a result of living life on the run and being subjected to this kind of abuse, the abducted child is subjected to severe psychological and emotional distress which show up for many years to come.
One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available
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