US Congress acts to prevent international child abductions


29 August , 2014

Source: nation.com 

WASHINGTON : Congress gave its final approval Friday to legislation that compels US authorities to assist American mothers and fathers whose children are victims of international parental abductions.

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More than 1,000 international child abductions each year are reported to the State Department, with children often taken illegally from the United States by a foreign parent to countries like Brazil, England, India, Japan and Russia. Most of them are not returned.
By simple voice vote, the House of Representatives approved the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act, named after son Sean who, through an intense US diplomatic intervention, was returned to his New Jersey home years after being taken to Brazil by his mother.
The bill passed the House last December, but the Senate tweaked it and approved its version last week. The House on Friday passed the final legislation and it now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The international Hague Convention on child abductions provides a civil framework for speeding the return of children, but the rules are not consistently enforced.
The Goldman act, first drafted in 2009, “ensures that (American parents) will now receive significant help from the US government in their fights to recover their children,” said House Republican Chris Smith, who wrote the original legislation.
“With this bill, for the first time ever, parents with children held in non-Hague countries can work with the State Department. They won’t be on their own, far from the United States, desperately trying to get their children back.”
The law, once signed, would call for increasingly severe steps taken by US authorities if a foreign government does not cooperate in helping resolve abduction cases, beginning with diplomatic demarches and escalating to cancellations of official visits, suspension of economic aid, and formal requests for extradition of individuals engaged in abductions.
It would also urge the administration to forge bilateral agreements with Hague Convention and non-Hague Convention countries to help locate and return abducted children and protect access rights for the “left-behind” parent. “These abductions are a form of child abuse and a human rights violation,” Smith said.

 

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N.J. mom step closer to reunion after Obama signs law about international child abduction


August 9 , 2014

Source: nj.com

The last time Bindu Philips saw her twin boys was in 2012 when she traveled to India for a mediation hearing — but only for a few minutes. For nearly six years, she has been embroiled in an international custody battle with her now ex-husband over their boys, now 13.

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Her ordeal could come to an end soon after President Obama signed into law Friday legislation that authorizes the State Department to take increasingly forceful measures against any country that does not help return an American child illegally held there.

“I’m longing to see my children,” the Plainsboro mom, 43, said today. “I really hope I will be reunited with them soon.”

The Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act is inspired by a Tinton Falls father whose son was kept in Brazil by his wife and her parents for more than five years.

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“The Goldman Act works to right the terrible wrong of international child abduction, end the enormous pain and suffering endured by separated children and parents and force the federal government to act to bring abducted children home,” said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th Dist.), who sponsored the bill. “Left-behind parents will now have tangible support and backing from their federal government.”

Philips’ ex-husband, Sunil Jacob, took the family on a sudden vacation to India in December 2008. He separated the children from her and kept them from seeing her parents. After three weeks, he enrolled them in a school without her knowledge. The principal let her talk with them twice a week, but when Jacob learned of this, he transferred them to another school.

She returned home to the U.S. after a few months and has continued to fight for them ever since. He denies her all contact; efforts to send them messages and motherly advice via a website were shut down by an Indian court order.

“The abductor plans everything so well that the left-behind parent really gets taken by surprise,” Philips said, who fears that Jacob has brainwashed her sons into thinking that she abandoned them. “They make the children turn against a parent who really loves them.”

The thought that she could finally be reunited with them gives her a renewed energy to face each day.

 

 

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Goldman Act bolsters fight for return of abducted children


August 5, 2014

Source: The Hub

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Capt. Paul Toland (from left), whose daughter was kidnapped in Japan; Bindu Philips, of Plainsboro, whose two sons were abducted to India; and David Goldman, whose son was abducted to Brazil and returned after a five-year ordeal, joined Rep. Chris Smith in calling for passage of the Goldman Act to help families who have been victimized by international abductions.

A bill empowering the U.S. State Department to aggressively pursue the return of internationally abducted children is headed to the president’s desk after being approved by Congress.

The Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act, the fourth bill of its kind introduced by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4), was drafted after Smith became involved with David Goldman’s fight to be reunited with his son, Sean.

According to Jeff Sagnip, the congressman’s press secretary, Goldman’s wife absconded with Sean from the family’s Tinton Falls home in June 2004, bringing him to Brazil when he was 4 years old without seeking custody of Sean or legally divorcing Goldman in a U.S. court.

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She subsequently died in childbirth, Sagnip said, and the Brazilian government held that her partner at the time of her death should maintain custody of Sean.

Brazil is a signatory of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, but chose to ignore the policies outlined by the international agreement, Sagnip said.

“Previously, the State Department would say ‘… There’s nothing that we can do,” Sagnip said. “[For a parent] trying to get a foreign court to award custody, it’s very difficult and returns are rare.”

The Sean and David Goldman Act (H.R. 3212) would allow U.S. embassies to apply pressure in incremental phases to dissuade governments from ignoring international law and sheltering abductors.

“[This bill] provides a series of tools which vary in their severity, from mild to strong,” Sagnip said. “The State Department is able to start with a little pressure and then build the pressure [on foreign governments refusing to return abducted American children to their homes.]”

Those tools include a private diplomatic protest called a demarche, a public condemnation of the foreign government, the withholding of economic aid and, eventually, demands for the extradition of the abductor.

Goldman, who was reunited with his son after five years of heavy investment both financial and emotional, said the passage of the bill provides hope for parents facing the same struggle he did.

“It was a long road, nearly five years, thanks to a tremendous effort of Congressman Smith and his staff,” Goldman said. “It was a great thing to do. It was the right thing to do. It’s another step closer to reuniting families. Next step: the White House.”

For victims of international child abduction and their parents, Smith said the Sean and David Goldman Act represents a shift in U.S. policy that will benefit separated family members.

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“Many children and parents have tragically lost years separated from each other in violation of U.S. and international law,” Smith said. “They have missed birthdays, holidays, and family time that they can never get back. H.R. 3212 ensures that they will now receive significant help from the U.S. government in their fight to recover their children.”

According to Sagnip, the bill allows the State Department to use the leverage already at its disposal in international abduction cases — leverage that is invaluable to an individual parent who only has so many resources to expend.

“How can a parent in Rutherford, New Jersey … fight a battle that’s halfway across the world? How do they pay for it?” Sagnip said. “It’s a tremendous expense, it’s a tremendous undertaking, and this [bill] puts the State Department in their corner.”

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In International Child Abduction Cases – quiet diplomacy is not working


December 29, 2013

Source:  Washington Post

SEAN GOLDMAN was 4 years old when his Brazilian-born mother took him from their New Jersey home for what Sean’s father, David Goldman, thought would be a two-week vacation. Five years passed before the father again laid eyes on his son.

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“It was very painful,’’ David Goldman recalled. “The first time I saw him after nearly five years, he looked at me and asked me where have I been all this time. . . . He was told that I didn’t love him, that I abandoned him, that I never wanted him.”

The only unusual feature of this story is that David Goldman eventually regained custody, though even after the boy’s mother died in 2008 her Brazilian family continued to resist his efforts. He succeeded in part because Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)relentlessly focused attention and pressure on the case. Now a bill written by Mr. Smith, the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act, has been approved by the House, 398 to 0, and is set for consideration in the Senate. But the State Department doesn’t want the additional diplomatic tools the bill would provide.

According to State, 1,144 children were reported abducted from the United States in 2012. There were 1,367 in 2011 and 1,492 in 2010. State Department officials say they work hard to get those children back — or at least to get the cases fairly adjudicated — but they can’t or won’t say how many of those abducted children remain overseas. That raises questions about their claims for success for “quiet diplomacy.”

In a letter to Mr. Smith, Robert E. Wallace, executive director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), said the abduction of children by a separated spouse is a particular problem for service members, especially in Japan. Mr. Wallace said the service members’ appeals for help “are too often met with bad legal advice, misinformation or indifference. . . . It is time for the U.S. government to take concrete action.” An organization of victimized parents said that the result of quiet diplomacy is “that the Government of Japan has not once assisted in returning a single abducted child.” Japan at least is in the process of acceding to an international treaty on the subject; most countries have not done so.

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The House bill provides for a series of graduated sanctions against countries that demonstrate a pattern of non-cooperation; it also would encourage the United States to negotiate agreements with countries that have not ratified the treaty. In both cases, the executive branch would act only if it chose to do so; the bill provides for a presidential waiver. Nonetheless, a State Department official told us putting tools in the tool kit would be counterproductive because U.S. officials would face pressure to use them and other countries would resent the implied threat.

Given the administration’s inability to quantify its success, or to report any results at all, the argument for the status quo is not persuasive. An aide to Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told us that the committee will take the measure up soon. We hope soon means soon. For thousands of parents deprived of the chance even to communicate with their children, quiet diplomacy isn’t getting the job done.

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Parental Kidnapping – Now a Global Issue


May 27, 2013

Source: Boston Herald

On International Missing Children’s Day, marked May 25th, we remembered the thousands of missing children and the parents who grieve and plead for help. Since 2008, more than 7,000 American children have been abducted to a foreign country — not by a stranger, but by their other parent.

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Such children are at risk of serious emotional and psychological problems and may experience anxiety, eating problems, nightmares, mood swings, sleep disturbances, aggressive behavior, resentment, guilt and fearfulness.

Members of Congress have seen the lopsided battles our constituents face to bring their children home from a foreign jurisdiction. Michael Elias, a combat-injured Iraqi veteran from New Jersey, has not held his children since 2008, when his ex-wife used her Japanese consulate connections to abduct Jade and Michael Jr. in violation of New Jersey court orders. Japan has refused to return the children or prosecute the abductor.

Elias told Congress, “All my hopes and dreams for their future now lie in the hands of others. … I am begging our government to help not only my family, but hundreds of other heartbroken families as well, to demand the return of our American children who are being held in Japan.”

Colin Bower’s children, Noor and Ramsay, were abducted from their home in Boston to Egypt nearly four years ago by their mother — who had lost custody because of her drug use and psychological problems. The Egyptian government facilitated the abduction by issuing fraudulent Egyptian passports, providing passage on the government-owned airline, and by shielding the mother, who comes from a well-connected family, from any accountability or responsibility.

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At a recent hearing Bower noted the billions of dollars in U.S. assistance to Egypt and observed, “Regardless of whatever moral, fiscal, or political balance you use, providing uninterrupted aid to a partner that acts this way is quite simply wrong. If this is American foreign policy, it’s flawed and it isn’t working. We aren’t getting what we pay for.”

Tragically, the Obama administration has limited itself to diplomatic requests for the return of the children. In the words of Bernard Aronson, former assistant secretary of state of inter-American affairs, “a diplomatic request for which there is no real consequence for refusal is simply a sophisticated form of begging.”

It is time for a new approach. That is why we have introduced H.R. 1951, the Sean and David Goldman Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2013, which will give the president powerful tools to motivate a country’s quick response for the return of abducted children.

If a country has 10 or more cases not being resolved in a timely manner, or the judiciary, or law enforcement, or other responsible entity is persistently failing to fulfill their obligations, the president can take action to aggressively advocate for our children’s return — such as denying certain assistance, canceling cultural exchanges, opposing international loans, or extraditing the abductor.

This bill creates the expectation of action — not just words — to bring every American child home. In the words of then-Senator and now Secretary of State John Kerry at the 2012 passage of a Senate resolution calling for the return of the Bower children, we must “remain focused like a laser beam until this father is reunited with his two boys,” and every other abducted American child comes home. We can, and must, do more than talk.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R) represents New Jersey’s 4th District.

 

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Parental Child Abduction to Brazil – A Father`s Love


Source: USA Today For five long years, when friends and strangers pressed him for news about his son, Sean, David Goldman had precious little to offer.
Sean, who was abducted by his mother as a 4-year-old, remained in Brazil, and Goldman’s efforts to get him back — or even see him — were being thwarted at every turn.

Today, Goldman is brimming with updates. Sean, who turns 11 in a few weeks, is loving Little League, is doing well in the fifth grade, recently hooked an 8-pound trout, and, on a whim, had his mop of sandy hair buzzed short during a sleepover at a friend’s house — something he now regrets, incidentally, according to his dad.

After the extraordinary drama surrounding their protracted separation, Goldman, 44, of Tinton Falls, N.J., is relishing the ordinariness of their life together — whether it’s shooting hoops in the driveway, helping with homework, or having a little father-and-son chat about why dumping Goldfish crackers in a schoolmate’s chocolate milk isn’t such a hot idea.

“I’m just so, so thankful that we’re back together, and that he’s really thriving,” Goldman said during a recent interview. “He can be a 10-year-old boy again. It’s beautiful.”

More than 16 months have passed since their climactic Christmas Eve flight home from Rio de Janeiro. The two have used that time to “”heal, adjust and bond,” Goldman said.

The adjustment process has been smooth, he said. Sean still meets with a therapist, but to see Sean playing video games with his friends and interacting with his father, one could scarcely guess it’s the same boy who was at the center of a wrenching, international tug-of-war.

No longer a “dead man walking,” as he describes himself during his son’s absence, Goldman is back to work as a charter boat captain and doing modeling jobs again, and he’s in a close relationship with a woman he met whom he identifies only as “Wendy” while Sean was in Brazil.

Goldman has kept a low profile since his return with Sean. But with the recent publication of his book, A Father’s Love: One Man’s Unrelenting Battle to Bring His Abducted Son Home (Viking, $26.95), he’s talking publicly again about his ordeal. Last night, he appeared on Dateline NBC, the same program that helped make him an international celebrity in 2008, four years into what until then had been a lonely, uphill battle to get his son back.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Bring Sean Home Foundation, a grassroots organization that rallied around his cause. The group focuses on raising awareness about the plight of some 3,000 other American children living abroad who have been abducted by a parent or relative. There are more than 60 such children still in Brazil, in defiance of U.S. and international law, Goldman said.

“We need to do something,” he said, pointing to federal legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., who was instrumental in securing Sean’s return, that calls for tougher penalties on noncompliant countries and a special ambassador-at-large to focus on abduction cases.

‘Where have you been?’

Goldman collaborated on A Father’s Love with author Ken Abraham. The first-person account fills in the intimate details of a storyline that’s broadly familiar to millions worldwide.

It begins with his seemingly idyllic marriage to a beautiful Brazilian fashion student named Bruna Bianchi Carneiro Ribeiro in 1999. The couple, who met while Goldman was modeling in Milan, Italy, settled in Tinton Falls, N.J. Their first child, Sean, was born the following year. His birthday, May 25, would have ironic significance later, when Goldman learned that President Ronald Reagan had proclaimed that date in 1983 as National Missing Children’s Day.

The couple appeared to enjoy a happy life together. They socialized often with Bruna’s parents, Raimundo and Silvana Ribeiro, who purchased a vacation condominium nearby.

On June 16, 2004, everything changed. That was the day Goldman drove his wife and son to Newark Liberty International Airport and waved good-bye to his family as they boarded a flight to Brazil for what he thought was a two-week vacation with relatives and friends.

A few days later, Goldman says, Bruna called to say she was filing for a divorce in Brazil and warned him that if he didn’t agree to her terms immediately, he’d never see his son again.

What followed was an agonizing, five-year battle with a confounding Brazilian legal system that refused to acknowledge the illegality of Sean’s abduction, or recognize Goldman’s parental rights. Even after Bruna’s death in 2008 from complications during childbirth, Brazilian courts allowed Sean to remain in the custody of his maternal grandparents and the man Bruna had remarried, attorney Joo Paulo Lins e Silva, who is from one of Brazil’s most politically influential families and the son of an authority on international parental child abduction law.

It wasn’t until Feb. 9, 2009, that a judge finally agreed to let Goldman visit his son. By that time, Goldman had made fruitless trips to Brazil, and had had countless cards and phone calls to Sean turned aside by the Ribeiro and Lins e Silva families. He had also garnered the support of several key allies, including Smith, who accompanied him to Brazil numerous times, U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, who would later hold up a multibillion-dollar trade bill to turn up the heat on the Brazilian government, and a former assistant U.S. secretary of state named Bernard Aronson, who worked to lobbySecretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama to take an active role in the case.

Sean knew none of this, Goldman said. Instead, he said, he was told by those he loved and trusted that his father was a deadbeat who wanted nothing to do with him.

Every day a ‘miracle’

Goldman said he’d prefer that Sean not read the book until he’s older, though they’ve talked about what happened in Brazil.

“When he came back, he had been told horrible things about us. That was a big conflict for him,” Goldman said. “He saw that we didn’t live in a shack, that our country wasn’t a horrible place.”

One aspect of Goldman’s ordeal that may be a surprise is that it’s not completely over.

Raimundo Ribeiro, Sean’s maternal grandfather, died in March, but both his wife, Silvana, and Lins e Silva have continued to file motions in Brazil to overturn the ruling by the country’s top court that ultimately returned Sean to his father. Ribeiro is also pressing for unrestricted visitation rights in New Jersey.

While Goldman is slowly paying off a legal tab of more than $700,000, the meter is still running. He hopes that sales of his book will reduce the debt.

Whatever the cost, though, Goldman considers it a small price to pay to have his son with him again. After everything he and Sean have had to endure, each day feels like a “miracle,” he said.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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Wo ist Marvin?


By:ZDF

Vater verschwindet mit sechsjährigem Sohn

Die 43-jährige Sabine Engl ist verzweifelt. Ihr Sohn Marvin ist seit fünf Monaten verschwunden. Ihr Ex-Mann hat Marvin nach einer gemeinsamen Ferienwoche mit seinem Sohn nicht nach Hause zurückgebracht.

Vier Jahre war Sabine Engl mit ihrem Mann verheiratet, 2007 kam die Trennung. Das gemeinsame Sorgerecht für ihren damals vierjährigen Sohn regelten beide mit einem rechtsverbindlichen Vertrag. Darin wurde festgelegt, dass Marvin bei seiner Mutter wohnt. Der Vater sollte den Jungen am Wochenende von Freitag bis Samstag bei sich haben. In den Ferien lebte Marvin die Hälfte der Zeit bei der Mutter, die andere Hälfte beim Vater. Doch nach den letzten Herbstferien bringt der Vater Marvin einfach nicht zurück. Er schickt nur eine SMS mit den zwei Worten: “Wird später.”

Sabine Engl. Quelle: ZDF 

ZDF
SMS an Marvins Mutter

Vater und Sohn in Norwegen?

Sabine Engl versucht immer wieder, ihren Ex-Mann zu erreichen. Sie alarmiert die Polizei, meldet ihren Sohn als vermisst. Und sie stellt Strafanzeige. Schließlich beauftragt sie eine Privatdetektei, die Vater und Sohn tatsächlich in Norwegen aufspürt. “Die sind in Norwegen unterwegs gewesen und haben dann ein Foto geschossen, worauf ich den Marvin und meinen Ex-Mann erkennen kann”, sagt Sabine Engl. Doch die Spur verliert sich.

Die Polizei vernimmt unterdessen Verwandte und Freunde des Mannes. Dabei finden die Beamten heraus, dass die neue Lebensgefährtin Vater und Sohn am 16. Oktober 2009 zum Düsseldorfer Flughafen gebracht hat. Auch die Flugtickets im Wert von rund 1.600 Euro sind von ihrer Kreditkarte abgebucht worden. Doch die Lebensgefährtin besteht darauf, nicht zu wissen, wohin beide geflogen sind und nicht mehr mit ihnen in Kontakt zu stehen.

Marvin. Quelle: ZDF 

ZDF
Foto der Detektei

Europaweite Fahndung ausgeschrieben

Nun bleibt Sabine Engl als letzte Hoffnung die deutsche Justiz. Das alleinige Sorgerecht hat sie bereits erwirkt. Im Januar, drei Monate nach dem Verschwinden Marvins, gibt die Staatsanwaltschaft Kaiserslautern eine europaweite Fahndung nach dem Vater raus. Doch das bedeutet nicht, dass eine Verhaftung vorgenommen werden soll. Christian Schröder, Staatsanwalt in Kaiserslautern, erklärt: “Es ist eine Fahndung, die sich darauf richtet, den Aufenthalt des Beschuldigten festzustellen. Es ist keine Fahndung, die auch dem Ziel dient, ihn festzunehmen.”

Sabine Engl. Quelle: ZDF 

ZDF
Sabine Engl vermisst ihren Sohn

Denn eine Festnahme mit Haftbefehl setzt voraus, dass Marvins Vater für seine Straftat eine Freiheitsstrafe erwartet. Aber das ist hier nicht der Fall. Ihm drohe lediglich eine Geldstrafe, so Schröder.

Zitat

„Ich träume jede Nacht irgendwelche schlimmen Sachen, manchmal auch gute, dass ich ihn wiederhabe. “

Sabine Engl

Mutter hat schlaflose Nächte

Sabine Engl bemüht sich mit ihrer Tochter Jennifer aus erster Ehe, den Alltag zu meistern. Doch seit dem Verschwinden ihres Sohnes fehlt ihr die Kraft. “Ich träume jede Nacht irgendwelche schlimmen Sachen, manchmal auch gute, dass ich ihn wiederhabe. Ich hab einfach auch schlaflose Nächte, unzählige.” Zurzeit bleiben ihr nur die Erinnerungen an glückliche Zeiten. Doch Sabine gibt die Hoffnung nicht auf, Marvin bald wieder bei sich zu haben.

Wo ist Marvin?

Wenn Sie Informationen zu dem Fall haben oder Marvin und seinen Vater gesehen haben, wenden Sie sich bitte an die Staatsanwaltschaft Kaiserslautern unter der Telefonnummer 0631-3721200 (ortsüblicher Tarif). Weitere Kontaktinformationen finden Sie auf der Website(Externer Link – Öffnet in neuem Fenster) der Staatsanwaltschaft.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

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Parental Abduction – Lesson 1


By: Jake Morphonios

Imagine…

You wait for your former spouse to return your son following a schedule weekend visit. When your child isn’t returned, you go to the other parent’s home only to discover that the apartment has been vacated.

The physiological response in each of these situations is the same. Your heart begins to pound and your adrenaline starts to surge through your veins as the realization dawns that your children are gone. In an instant your brain considers possible explanations, but they each defy logic. Your brain already knows what your heart is desperately trying to deny. Your children have been kidnapped.

There are few horrors that can rival the experience of having one’s child kidnapped. Movies and television shows sensationalize child abduction. The nightly news further distorts correct understanding of child abduction by only reporting on the most dramatic of cases, for example, the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. There exists, however, a less-glamorous form of child abduction which is perpetrated by the child’s own parent.

Parental Kidnappings

Each year there are more than 350,000 child abductions in America. The vast majority of these kidnappings are perpetrated by one of the child’s parents. The official term for this type of crime is “parental child abduction”, but it is also referred to as a “child kidnapping” or “child snatching”. Regardless of the terminology, the fact that the child is taken by the other parent does not diminish or negate the raw emotional trauma inflicted upon the other parent.

Parental kidnapping is the unlawful abduction of a child by one parent which deprives the other parent of their lawful custody of the child.  In divorce situations, the abductor may be the custodial or the non-custodial parent. This means that even if the abductor is the custodial parent or primary caregiver, if the abduction deprives the other parent of his or her court ordered visitation time then the custodial parent is guilty of parental child abduction.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention conducted an intensive and thorough research study on child abduction in America. The project is called the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART). The section that focused specifically on children abducted by family members is called NISMART-2. This article extensively references the NISMART-2. The original study may be found at: http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org

Defining Parental Child Abduction

“For the purposes of NISMART-2, family abduction was defined as the taking or keeping of a child by a family member in violation of a custody order, a decree, or other legitimate custodial rights, where the taking or keeping involved some element of concealment, flight, or intent to deprive a lawful custodian indefinitely of custodial privileges.”

The NISMART-2 elaborates on the definition above by further defining the following terms:

  • Taking: Child was taken by a family member in violation of a custody order or decree or other legitimate custodial right.
  • Keeping: Child was not returned or given over by a family member in violation of a custody order or decree or other legitimate custodial right.
  • Concealment: Family member attempted to conceal the taking or whereabouts of the child with the intent to prevent return, contact or visitation.
  • Flight: Family member transported or had the intent to transport the child from the State for the purpose of making recovery more difficult.
  • Intent to deprive indefinitely: Family member indicated intent to prevent contact with the child on an indefinite basis or to affect custodial privileges indefinitely.

Conceptualizing the Problem

Of the 203,900 parental child abduction cases studied, 57% were labeled as “caretaker missing”, meaning that the victimized parent did not know where the child was for at least 1 hour, became alarmed and searched for the missing child. However, the NISMART-2 reveals:

“It is possible for a child to have been unlawfully removed from custody by a family member, but for that child’s whereabouts to be fully known. Thus, a child can be abducted but not necessarily missing.”

In fact, the study found that 43% of the children kidnapped were not thought of as “missing” by the victimized parent because the child’s whereabouts were known to the victim parent.

“Although the family abductions described in this study typically had certain disturbing elements such as attempts to prevent contact or alter custodial arrangements permanently, they did not generally involve the most serious sorts of features associated with the types of family abductions likely to be reported in the news. Actual concealment of the child occurred in a minority of episodes. Use of force, threats to harm the child and flight from the State were uncommon. In contrast to the image created by the word ‘abduction,’ most of the children abducted by a family member were already in the lawful custody of the perpetrator when the episode started. In addition, nearly half of the family abducted children were returned in 1 week or less.”

Even if the child is not considered missing, the abduction is still considered child abuse because of the damage that it inflicts upon the child. The NISMART-1 found that, “family abduction can result in psychological harm to the child” and the NISMART-2 states that “family abductions constitute an important peril in the lives of children it is important to remember that the potential harm to family abducted children exists whether or not they are classified as missing”.

Characteristics of Parental Abductions

Location and Season. 73% of parental abductions took place in the child’s own home or yard, or in the home or yard of a relative or friend. Children were removed from schools or day care centers in only 7% of the cases. In 63% of the cases, the children were already with the abductor in lawful circumstances immediately prior to the abduction.

Police Contact. In 40% of all cases, the aggrieved parent did not contact the police to report the abduction. The study found a number of reasons for this, but the majority of responses indicated that the parent did not believe that the police would intervene in the matter because the child’s whereabouts were known, they were in the care of a legal guardian, and it did not appear that the child was being harmed. The highest percentage of abductions took place during the summer.

Ages. 45% of abductors were in their 30’s. 44% of abducted children were younger than age 6.

Indicators of serious episodes. “The use of threats, physical force, or weapons was relatively uncommon in family abductions.” 17% were moved out of State with the intent to make recovery more difficult. 44% were concealed, at least temporarily, from the victimized parent-+. 76% included attempts to prevent contact. 82% included intent to permanently affect the custodial privileges of the aggrieved parent.

Conclusion

Parental child abduction is the unlawful kidnapping of a child by one parent which deprives the other parent of his or her lawful custodial rights. This kind of child snatching not only victimizes the other parent, but it is also a serious form of child abuse.

When the abducting parent chooses to go underground or flees the state or country, recovery of the child becomes exceptionally difficult – and sometimes impossible. Because of this, if you suspect that your child is at risk of abduction you must act now. There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of abduction, as well as actions designed to make the recovery of your child far more likely.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

Parental Child Abduction – Lesson 2


By: Jake Morphonios

If you suspect that your child is at risk of parental kidnapping, now is the time to prepare. Here is what to do first.

Parental child abduction is the unlawful kidnapping of a child by one parent which deprives the other parent of his or her lawful custodial rights. This kind of child snatching not only victimizes the other parent, but it is also a serious form of child abuse.

When the abducting parent chooses to go underground or flees the state or country, recovery of the child becomes exceptionally difficult – and sometimes impossible. Because of this, if you suspect that your child is at risk of abduction you must act now. There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of abduction, as well as actions designed to make the recovery of your child far more likely.

It takes time, time that you don’t have, to assemble sufficient documentation to provide to authorities following the abduction of your child. To complicate matters, should your child be kidnapped you will most certainly not be in a calm state of mind.  Focusing well enough to collect necessary materials will be difficult.  Therefore, preassemble two sets of the following documents:

On the Children

  • Several recent color photos of each of your children
  • Two sets of your children’s fingerprints
  • A list of your children’s social security numbers
  • Copies of medical insurance cards
  • A list of the child’s scars or other distinguishing physical marks
  • Any passport numbers or drivers license numbers
  • A list of your children’s bank account numbers
  • A copy of any court order regarding child custody
  • All your child’s email addresses or networking sites such as MySpace
  • Your children’s cell phone number(s)

On the Other Parent

  • Several recent color photos of the other parent or potential family abductor
  • A list of the other parent’s scars or other distinguishing physical marks
  • Two sets of the other parent’s fingerprints, if available
  • Any passport or drivers license numbers
  • A list of the other parent’s email addresses or social networking sites such as MySpace
  • The other parent’s telephone number(s) and all known addresses
  • The names and contact information of the other parent’s close friends and family
  • A list of all credit cards, bank accounts or other financial data
  • Car information including, registrations, serial numbers makes, models, descriptions
  • A list of any bank or retirement accounts, negotiable instruments and brokerage accounts
  • A list of any other assets which could quickly be liquidated for cash

The purpose in creating two sets of materials is so that the materials can be kept in two separate “safe” spots. If the abductor takes your set from your home, you will still be able to obtain the other set. Leave this other set somewhere you can access quickly, such as in the home of a local family member or friend. Do not leave the information in a safe deposit box because if the abduction takes place after banking hours you won’t be able to obtain your file.

Should your child be kidnapped, it is vital to quickly locate their whereabouts. Having materials gathered and well-organized will assist both you and the authorities in launching a quick and effective search for your children.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

Parental Child Abduction – Lesson 1


By: Jake Morphonios

Imagine…

You wait for your former spouse to return your son following a schedule weekend visit. When your child isn’t returned, you go to the other parent’s home only to discover that the apartment has been vacated.

The physiological response in each of these situations is the same. Your heart begins to pound and your adrenaline starts to surge through your veins as the realization dawns that your children are gone. In an instant your brain considers possible explanations, but they each defy logic. Your brain already knows what your heart is desperately trying to deny. Your children have been kidnapped.

There are few horrors that can rival the experience of having one’s child kidnapped. Movies and television shows sensationalize child abduction. The nightly news further distorts correct understanding of child abduction by only reporting on the most dramatic of cases, for example, the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. There exists, however, a less-glamorous form of child abduction which is perpetrated by the child’s own parent.

Parental Kidnappings

Each year there are more than 350,000 child abductions in America. The vast majority of these kidnappings are perpetrated by one of the child’s parents. The official term for this type of crime is “parental child abduction”, but it is also referred to as a “child kidnapping” or “child snatching”. Regardless of the terminology, the fact that the child is taken by the other parent does not diminish or negate the raw emotional trauma inflicted upon the other parent.

Parental kidnapping is the unlawful abduction of a child by one parent which deprives the other parent of their lawful custody of the child.  In divorce situations, the abductor may be the custodial or the non-custodial parent. This means that even if the abductor is the custodial parent or primary caregiver, if the abduction deprives the other parent of his or her court ordered visitation time then the custodial parent is guilty of parental child abduction.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention conducted an intensive and thorough research study on child abduction in America. The project is called the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART). The section that focused specifically on children abducted by family members is called NISMART-2. This article extensively references the NISMART-2. The original study may be found at: http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org

Defining Parental Child Abduction

“For the purposes of NISMART-2, family abduction was defined as the taking or keeping of a child by a family member in violation of a custody order, a decree, or other legitimate custodial rights, where the taking or keeping involved some element of concealment, flight, or intent to deprive a lawful custodian indefinitely of custodial privileges.”

The NISMART-2 elaborates on the definition above by further defining the following terms:

  • Taking: Child was taken by a family member in violation of a custody order or decree or other legitimate custodial right.
  • Keeping: Child was not returned or given over by a family member in violation of a custody order or decree or other legitimate custodial right.
  • Concealment: Family member attempted to conceal the taking or whereabouts of the child with the intent to prevent return, contact or visitation.
  • Flight: Family member transported or had the intent to transport the child from the State for the purpose of making recovery more difficult.
  • Intent to deprive indefinitely: Family member indicated intent to prevent contact with the child on an indefinite basis or to affect custodial privileges indefinitely.

Conceptualizing the Problem

Of the 203,900 parental child abduction cases studied, 57% were labeled as “caretaker missing”, meaning that the victimized parent did not know where the child was for at least 1 hour, became alarmed and searched for the missing child. However, the NISMART-2 reveals:

“It is possible for a child to have been unlawfully removed from custody by a family member, but for that child’s whereabouts to be fully known. Thus, a child can be abducted but not necessarily missing.”

In fact, the study found that 43% of the children kidnapped were not thought of as “missing” by the victimized parent because the child’s whereabouts were known to the victim parent.

“Although the family abductions described in this study typically had certain disturbing elements such as attempts to prevent contact or alter custodial arrangements permanently, they did not generally involve the most serious sorts of features associated with the types of family abductions likely to be reported in the news. Actual concealment of the child occurred in a minority of episodes. Use of force, threats to harm the child and flight from the State were uncommon. In contrast to the image created by the word ‘abduction,’ most of the children abducted by a family member were already in the lawful custody of the perpetrator when the episode started. In addition, nearly half of the family abducted children were returned in 1 week or less.”

Even if the child is not considered missing, the abduction is still considered child abuse because of the damage that it inflicts upon the child. The NISMART-1 found that, “family abduction can result in psychological harm to the child” and the NISMART-2 states that “family abductions constitute an important peril in the lives of children it is important to remember that the potential harm to family abducted children exists whether or not they are classified as missing”.

Characteristics of Parental Abductions

Location and Season. 73% of parental abductions took place in the child’s own home or yard, or in the home or yard of a relative or friend. Children were removed from schools or day care centers in only 7% of the cases. In 63% of the cases, the children were already with the abductor in lawful circumstances immediately prior to the abduction.

Police Contact. In 40% of all cases, the aggrieved parent did not contact the police to report the abduction. The study found a number of reasons for this, but the majority of responses indicated that the parent did not believe that the police would intervene in the matter because the child’s whereabouts were known, they were in the care of a legal guardian, and it did not appear that the child was being harmed. The highest percentage of abductions took place during the summer.

Ages. 45% of abductors were in their 30’s. 44% of abducted children were younger than age 6.

Indicators of serious episodes. “The use of threats, physical force, or weapons was relatively uncommon in family abductions.” 17% were moved out of State with the intent to make recovery more difficult. 44% were concealed, at least temporarily, from the victimized parent-+. 76% included attempts to prevent contact. 82% included intent to permanently affect the custodial privileges of the aggrieved parent.

Conclusion

Parental child abduction is the unlawful kidnapping of a child by one parent which deprives the other parent of his or her lawful custodial rights. This kind of child snatching not only victimizes the other parent, but it is also a serious form of child abuse.

When the abducting parent chooses to go underground or flees the state or country, recovery of the child becomes exceptionally difficult – and sometimes impossible. Because of this, if you suspect that your child is at risk of abduction you must act now. There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of abduction, as well as actions designed to make the recovery of your child far more likely.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

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