U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Parentally Abducted Children: Roadblocks to Recovery and Reunion

NCJ Number
Juvenile Justice Volume: 1 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring-Summer 1993) Pages: 17- 23
L K Girdner
Date Published
7 pages
This paper examines the laws enacted to prevent parental abductions and facilitate the recovery and return of abducted children, identifies the obstacles that limit their usefulness, and recommends corrective action to enhance their effectiveness.
A recent study sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and conducted by the American Bar Association revealed that the problem of parental abductions is being addressed through the civil legal and criminal justice systems. In addition, Federal and State information clearinghouses have been established to help parents locate missing children. Despite these efforts, three types of obstacles hinder efforts to locate, recover, and return parentally abducted children. These include the lack of knowledge of attorneys, judges, and law enforcement personnel; failure of these professionals to comply with applicable laws; and inconsistency and ambiguity in the laws. Corrective actions should focus on conflicting custody orders, procedures to determine of custody orders or proceedings exist, enforcement procedures, coordination between parental abduction and domestic assault policies, liability risks of law enforcement, funding, training of professions, and access to knowledgeable and affordable attorneys. In addition, a media campaign is needed to educate family members and friends about the criminal risks of involving themselves in the abduction or concealment of a child. The public and professionals should also be informed of research that dispels commonly held myths minimizing the seriousness of parental abduction. Notes and 5 references