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"Although abductions by nonfamily members receive more public attention, a significant number of child abductions are committed by family members or noncustodial parents - commonly called parental kidnapping." Contrary to common belief, a parental kidnapping can have a deeply traumatic effect on the child. They must suffer the consequences of being uprooted from the home, deprived of the other parent, and forced to spend a life on the run. Child abductions are difficult and complex to deal with when they occur within Canada. When they involve other countries, which is quite often the case, they are even more so. There are a number of methods, and steps, that may be considered when making provisions for the safety of children. After a child has been abducted there is an even more defined series of steps that should be taken. This is a bewildering and often prolonged experience. When it is suspected that a child may be abducted, or has already been so, there is a proper way to handle the situation which will be discussed here through preparation and prevention, and also search and recovery.
The act of parental kidnapping is often provoked in some way by the break-up of the child's father and mother. It may be the actual courtfiling of divorce papers; the remarriage or serious emotional involvement of one parent with another partner; conflict over child support; child custody; or visitation. If there is the possibility of divorce, separation, or dissolving a non-marital partnership, do not ignore threats of abduction made by the partner. They may be indicating a growing frustration that may motivate him or her to disappear with the child. It may help to consult a family counsellor to explore the problems of co-parenting and abduction fears.
The most important means of prevention is one that is to be worked on everyday whether there is the possibility of abduction by family members or nonfamily members; and that is healthy communication. Repeated assurance of love for the child is needed along with the fact that this is unconditional no matter what anyone else says. Children, at a young age, need to be taught their telephone number and area code and also how to dial the phone. Instruction on how to contact other family members or close friends may also be helpful. Trust and support should be built so that children feel secure is discussing situations that may have made them afraid.
There are several steps that should be taken to be prepared in case the child is abducted. Keep a complete written description of the child, including hair and eye colour, height, weight, date of birth, and specific physical attributes. A colour photograph of the child should be updated every six months and kept with the written description. This simply helps in the child's identification.
If a parental kidnapping is likely, keep lists of information about the former partner. Along with a written description of the person's physical properties there should be included the person's Social Insurance Number, driver's license number, car registration number, checking and savings account number's, and other information that may be of assistance in locating the abductor. Discretion is important in obtaining this information so as not to provoke a kidnapping or cause the other partner to change these pieces of identification.
Once an abductor leaves the province, or especially the country, the search becomes much more difficult. Unfortunately, this is usually the case. When it is believed that the child has been taken further distances, the provincial/territorial and federal governments co-operate closely in assisting parents. "There are hundreds of active cases that involve Canadian children who have been illegally removed from Canada, or who have been prevented from returning home by one of their parents." To advance the process of the search and the anticipated return it is a good idea for the parent to be directly involved with officials.
To discover a child is missing is very traumatic. It is important to remain as calm as possible and seek assistance from family, friends and appropriate professionals. Since the process can be complicated, the search and recovery efforts are sometimes lengthy and often unsuccessful. Because of this, unrealistic expectations should not be made, or results wanted within a few days or - in some cases - even months. "Reasonable goals and expectations may include:
S Obtaining early confirmation of where your child is located;
S Obtaining early confirmation of the well-being of your child;
S Arranging a meeting, as soon as possible, between your child and a Canadia
Names mentioned in this term paper
Organizations referenced in this report
Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Department of Justice, foreign central authority, Canadian Police Information Centre, United States National Crime Information Centre, UN, Government, Special Commission, Foreign Affairs,
Locations mentioned in this report
the civil justice system, The Netherlands,
Keywords referenced in this report
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