Resource Type: Knowledge Products

Knowledge Products

Family Abductions: What We’ve Learned An In-Depth Analysis by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

A family abduction is defined as the taking, retention or concealment of a child, younger than 18 years of age, by a parent, other person with a family relationship to the child, or his or her agent, in violation of the custody rights, including visitation rights of a parent or legal guardian. Between 2008 and 2017, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) received 16,264 children with 11,761 known abductors who were involved in family abductions cases. Children and abductors were analyzed for demographics, and missing and recovery information. This report also presents information pertaining to missing duration, as well the amount of time taken to obtain a state warrant or enter the child in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).The majority of these cases involved children who were abducted by a biological parent (89.9%). Family abductions are more likely to occur when the child(ren) are younger and the abduction takes place most often during the summer. Children abducted by family members were most likely to have a mean age of 5 years old. Almost a third (32.2%) of these children were abducted in the summer months (June, July, August). In the past decade, there has been an overall decline in the amount of time in which the child is separated from their custodial parent/guardian when they are abducted by a family member.Cases with an international component had longer missing durations than domestic cases, but the durations of both were on the decline. This report found significant correlations between the time it took to issue state warrant and the missing duration of a child.

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Knowledge Products

A Family Resource Guide on International Parental Kidnapping

This guide imparts the group’s practical wisdom and the hope that other parents will not have to ex­perience the confusion and discouragement these parents did when it was not clear what to do or whom to turn to when their children were kidnapped. The group offered its suggestions for prevent­ing international kidnapping and gave detailed advice to maximize the chance that children who are kidnapped or wrongfully retained will be returned to this country. The guide provides descriptions and realistic assessments of the civil and criminal remedies available in international parental kidnapping cases. It explains applicable laws and identifies both the public and private resources that may be called on when an international abduction occurs or is threatened. It gives practical advice on overcoming frequently encountered obstacles so that parents can get the help they need. The guide prepares parents for the legal and emotional difficulties they may experience and shares coping and general legal strategies to help them achieve their individual goals, whether they involve recovering a child or reestablishing meaningful access to a child in another country. Despite the difficulties that may lie ahead and the disappointment some parents may experience, it is important not to become discouraged. Stay hopeful. Many things can be done to prevent or to resolve an international parental kidnapping. This guide will help you organize your response.

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Data / Fact Sheet

US State Department Annual Report on Parental Abduction

As a party to the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Convention), the United States is committed to the principle that generally the courts in a child’s place of habitual residence are best positioned to resolve matters of custody, and that abducted children should be promptly returned to their country of habitual residence. The Department of State works with our Convention partner countries to strengthen compliance with the Convention and address issues of mutual concern. Likewise, we advocate with countries that have not joined the Convention to develop the institutions and procedures required to resolve international parental child abductions and to become party to the Convention. The 2020 Annual Report on International Child Abduction illustrates the Department of State’s efforts to prevent and resolve international parental child abductions during 2019.

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Data / Fact Sheet

THE FIRST 3 HOURS – Being Prepared Can Save Your Child’s Life

When your child has gone missing, you may naturally be feeling lost, confused, or isolated trying to make sense of the situation. In order to help recover your child in the midst of such chaos, it is important to remember that time is the enemy. Recent statistics demonstrate the importance of preplanning and initial response immediately after a child goes missing to ensure successful recovery.The first 48 hours following a child’s disappearance are the most critical to make sure a child gets returned home safely. However, the first 3 hours are the most crucial window of time for an initial response, as well as for gathering all available resources you have on your child. This is even more urgent on reservations, where Tribal and State jurisdiction can change quickly. For this reason, it is important to know how you can be the best prepared should a situation like this arise in your family or community.

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Data / Fact Sheet

A law enforcement guide on International Parental Kidnapping

International parental kidnapping, whether as a result of a parent or other person taking or wrongfully retaining a child with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights, merits the full and timely attention of law enforcement. The child (or children) should be considered to be in danger, especially when the person taking or retaining the child has previously threatened to abduct or harm the child or themselves, or is otherwise unstable. In these cases, the law enforcement responsibility is much broader than the simple act of retrieving the child. Officers, and the agencies they represent, who respond promptly, professionally, and efficiently to reports regarding what many term “family kidnappings” become, in effect, a means of protection for the child (Findlay and Lowery, 2011). This guide is for local, state, and federal law enforcement authorities who respond to international parental child kidnapping cases. It suggests methods for preventing international child kidnappings by family members; describes the role of law enforcement as the initial responder and investigator; discusses applicable laws, treaties, and legal remedies for child recovery and reunification; and outlines considerations for criminal prosecution and extradition of offenders.

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Knowledge Products

Native American Children Reported Missing to NCMEC

The information provided in this report does not reflect all cases of missing or abducted Native American children, only those reported to NCMEC between 1/1/2009 and 12/31/2018. Children were determined for inclusion in this analysis based on demographic information provided by an official source, including the child’s parent(s), the child’s legal guardian, social services or law enforcement.

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Data / Fact Sheet

2019 AMBER Alert Report

This report presents information about AMBER Alerts issued in the 50 states, the District of Columbia,Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands from Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2019, and intaked by NCMEC. Although an AMBER Alert case may be activated in multiple areas, this report organizes alerts based on the state/territory of first activation. This report analyzes cases according to the case type for which the AMBER Alert was issued, not the case type at the time of recovery.

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Data / Fact Sheet

MISSING CHILDREN ON THEAUTISM SPECTRUM

This is an analysis of data regarding children with an autism spectrum disorder who were reported missing to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). The research methodology involved querying the database for children who were reported to have autism or Asperger syndrome as a medical condition, a mental health condition, or a special needs condition1. Although the conditions and circumstances can vary widely, these children will be referred to as ‘children with autism’ for the purposes of this document. This analysis includes data reported to NCMEC between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2016 In total, there were 952 children with autism reported missing to NCMEC during this ten year period. These 952 children were involved in a total of 1,067 missing incidents.

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Data / Fact Sheet

Family Abductions: What We’ve Learned

A family abduction is defined as the taking, retention or concealment of a child, younger than 18 years of age, by a parent, other person with a family relationship to the child, or his or her agent, in violation of the custody rights, including visitation rights of a parent or legal guardian. Between 2008 and 2017, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) received 16,264 children with 11,761 known abductors who were involved in family abductions cases. Children and abductors were analyzed for demographics, and missing and recovery information. This report also presents information pertaining to missing duration, as well the amount of time taken to obtain a state warrant or enter the child in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).The majority of these cases involved children who were abducted by a biological parent (89.9%). Family abductions are more likely to occur when the child(ren) are younger and the abduction takes place most often during the summer. Children abducted by family members were most likely to have a mean age of 5 years old. Almost a third (32.2%) of these children were abducted in the summer months (June, July, August). In the past decade, there has been an overall decline in the amount of time in which the child is separated from their custodial parent/guardian when they are abducted by a family member.Cases with an international component had longer missing durations than domestic cases, but the durations of both were on the decline. This report found significant correlations between the time it took to issue state warrant and the missing duration of a child.

Learn More »