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How common are parental abductions?

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2022 | Child Custody

A kidnapped child is a worst-case scenario for parents. The idea of a dangerous stranger taking your child for nefarious purposes is the stuff of nightmares.

But in reality, if your child is ever kidnapped, the odds are that your child won’t be snatched by a stranger. They will likely not even realize they have been abducted. How can that be, you might wonder? But few kids would ever think of their other parent as an abductor.

Abduction by the numbers

There is no one race or ethnic background that’s more prone to parental abduction than any others. Also, boys and girls are abducted by parents in equal measure. In at least a quarter of child abduction cases, the bio-mom is the abductor.

Other statistics on missing children abducted by their non-custodial parents and provided by the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted and Throwaway Children (NISMART) include the following facts:

  • About 4% of all minor children undergo parental kidnapping or family abduction
  • Annually, three out of 1,000 minors are victimized by parental abductions or kidnapping by other family members
  • Out of only one-parent households, roughly 84 kids out of 1,000 get kidnapped by a parent or other family member
  • Conversely, just nine kids out of 1,000 get abducted by parents from two-parent homes.
  • Just 86% of parental abductions get reported to law enforcement
  • Of the total parent-child abduction cases, the biological dads of the kidnapped children are responsible for 53% of those incidents

What are some risk factors for parental abduction?

Perhaps it stands to reason that custody modifications and restrictions to visitation rights trigger 65% of parental abductions. If your ex has ever threatened to take off with the minor child, be especially vigilant right after those two events occur.

In at least 45% of parental abduction cases, the parents who abduct their kids are in their 30s. Parents who abduct their kids intend to alter the custody arrangements permanently in 80% of the incidents. Researchers also found that three out of four abducting parents intend that the custodial parent’s access to the child be curtailed.

What you can do

Police do what they can, but it’s often not enough to assure the children will be located and returned. Working with a family law attorney with a strong background in parental child abductions might offer you additional resources to fight back.