Child Abduction: A Family Matter

June 7, 2011

 This one was hard to read – not because of the language, but because of the painful subject matter. The Crime of Family Abduction: a Child’s and Parent’s Perspective, a 2011 Library Journal notable Federal Government document, tackles the astonishing and heartbreaking fact that more than 200,000 children each year are abducted by a family member. This little book from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention highlights a little-understood crime – and it is a crime, in all 50 states and theDistrict of Columbia.

I say “little understood” because, despite the fact that this is the predominant form of child abduction, it is too often ignored, as if abduction by a parent is somehow understandable or excusable.  Just how inexcusable it can be was brought home to me by the exquisitely painful first-person stories of abducted children and searching parents. The kids involved lose their families, friends, and homes, sometimes are forced to take on new identities, and live in the frightening shadow of discovery. For those returned to searching parents after years of absence, the reunion can be painful or even terrifying, depending on what the abducting parent has told them. According to the testimony presented in The Crime of Family Abduction, the trauma can last a lifetime.

This heartrending book is packed with information for anyone faced with what must be an excruciating situation. It’s also a somber and moving snapshot of a crime that victimizes those even peripherally involved. It’s not a light read, but it’s an important one. You can find it here or find it in a library.

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