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Parental Kidnapping - How to Prevent an Abduction and What To Do If Your Child Is Abducted

NCJ Number
Date Published
44 pages
This handbook describes the actions that parents can take and the laws that may help them when their children are victims of parental kidnapping, explains how to prevent abductions, and outlines the rights of noncustodial parents.
Custodial parents involved in parental kidnapping cases should file a missing persons report with the police and request that the child's description be entered in the FBI's National Crime Information Center Computer (NCIC). Criminal remedies which may be appropriate include entering the felony warrant into NCIC and obtaining records by subpoena or search warrant. Parents choosing civil remedies should hire a lawyer, obtain a valid custody decree, and take action to enforce that decree. Parents should contact support groups and rely on sources of information such as school records and State Departments of Motor Vehicles. Parents may legally recover their children through police assistance, voluntary return, self-help recovery, or civil legal actions. After the children return, parents should consider psychological counseling for the children, assess their ability to act as witnesses, and evaluate the abductors' visitation rights. To prevent abduction, parents should take steps such as asking the prosecutor to intervene and requesting special provisions in the custody order. Noncustodial parents should also be aware of their legal rights. A knowledge of parental kidnapping laws, including the Missing Children Act, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980 is essential. Parental support groups are listed; a reading list, an index, and worksheets are provided.