Children Reported Abducted in CA Usually Taken by Parents or Relatives


On behalf of Holstrom, Sissung, Marks & Anderson, APLC on March 12, 2010 12:23 PM | No TrackBacks

According to a report in the Contra Costa Times, 97 percent of child abductions reported in California are parental and family abductions. The recent discovery of a girl abducted by her mother from the San Francisco Bay area 15 years ago has given hope to other parents in similar situations.

Dean Click’s daughter, Jessica, was abducted by her mother in 1995 when the girl was 8 years old. She is now 22 and lives in another state apart from her mother. Dean Click has said he wants his daughter to know that he always wanted to see her. He hopes they can reunite, but he’s also apprehensive about what she thinks of him after all the years away.

Unfortunately, discovering children who were abducted by their parents becomes much more unlikely as time goes by. Justice Department Data cited by The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) states that only 6 percent of children abducted by parents are found if they are still missing 6 months after being reported abducted. For children reported abducted by relatives and missing for over 10 years, the NCMEC reports that between 1990 and 2009, only 0.9 percent were found.

Nevertheless, the discovery of Jessica has renewed the hope of another San Francisco Bay area man whose ex-wife left town with their two children after a child-custody battle in 1997. Michael Stratton still lives in the same Walnut Creek house he lived in when his kids, Zachary and Chelsea, then 9 and 6, were taken by their mother Elizabeth Stratton. He hopes that one day the kids will try to find him. He believes his children are victims and will have suffered the negative impact of having grown up without their father.

Michael Stratton believes his ex-wife took the children because she lost primary custody to him. During the custody battle, she repeatedly accused Michael of molesting the children, which he denied. Several law enforcement agencies investigated the molestation claims, but found no evidence to support the allegations.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children believes the case of Dean Click’s daughter proves that children taken by relatives are still out there somewhere and there’s hope they will be found. Wendy Hill was found and arrested after a tip came in to the NCMEC. The tip was passed on to the police department of Walnut Creek who enlisted the help of the FBI.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

Third of abducted children not returned home after a year


By: Helen Pidd, guardian.co.uk

Hague convention lets down youngsters forcibly taken from England and Wales, says campaign group

More than one in three children abducted from England and Wales and taken abroad have not returned home by the end of the year of being kidnapped, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Statistics from the Ministry of Justice show that some foreign countries never return children, despite being signatories to the Hague convention, the multinational treaty designed to reunite families quickly.

Pressure groups said this showed the convention was not doing its job.

The figures revealed that of the 277 cases of child abduction dealt with by the justice ministry in 2008, just 103 led to children coming back to the UK. An estimated 140 youngsters did not return, such cases usually involving a parent taking drastic action after a relationship breakdown.

The figures also show which countries have the best and worst record for returning children. In 2008, no children came back from Croatia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mauritius, Peru, Serbia, Sweden and Zimbabwe, despite all those nations being Hague convention signatories. One case, involving Mauritius, has been continuing since 2004. No children have been returned from Zimbabwe since 2005, and between 2001 and 2008 only four cases involving Mexico have caused children to return to England and Wales.

Eastern European countries have also got a poor record. Just two cases involving Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia and Macedonia have led to children coming home to England or Wales, since at least 1999.

The US has failed to return about a third of the children. In 2008, of the 30 cases dealt with by the justice ministry, 13 were unresolved at the end of the year.

The Ministry of Justice only deals with child abduction cases where children are taken from England and Wales to countries which have signed the Hague convention, which aims to make it easier to resolve child abduction cases among signatories. The high number of children who are not speedily returned suggests the convention often does not work.

Catherine Meyer, founder of Pact, a non-profit organisation that fights child abduction, said: “The overall picture remains depressingly bleak.”Despite the fact that parental child abduction is the subject of an international convention, the British government still tends to regard it as a private matter that does not require its vigorous intervention when the child of a British subject is illegally taken to another country.”

Some countries take a long time to reach a judicial decision about returning children. In Poland, in 2008, it took an average of 842 days for the courts to decide whether children should be sent home; in Spain, the average was 458 days.

Other countries were much quicker: the average time in Latvia was 54 days, and in Portugal it was 71 days.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

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

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

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

Profiles of Parents At Risk for Abducting Their Children


“You’ll never see your child again!” When
are these words an idle threat spoken in
anger and frustration and when are they
a warning that a parent intends to abduct
his or her child, depriving the child and
the other parent of future contact?

By: U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Profile 1: When There Has Been a Prior threat of or Actual Abduction
When a parent has made credible threats to abduct a child
or has a history of hiding the child, withholding visitation, or
snatching the child from the other parent, there is great distrust
between the parents and a heightened risk of further
custody violation. This risk profile is usually combined with
one or more of the other profiles. In these cases, the underlying
psychological and social dynamics that motivate the
abduction need to be understood and addressed. When other
risk factors are present, one or more of the following are general
indicators of an imminent threat of flight with the child:
-The parent is unemployed, homeless, and without emotional
or financial ties to the area.
– The parent has divulged plans to abduct the child and has
the resources or the support of extended family and/or
friends and underground dissident networks needed to
survive in hiding.
– The parent has liquidated assets, made maximum withdrawals
of funds against credit cards, or borrowed money
from other sources.

Profile 2: When a Parent Suspects or Believes
Abuse Has Occurred and Friends and Family
Members Support These Concerns
Many parents abduct their child because they believe that the
other parent is abusing, molesting, or neglecting the child.
These abducting parents feel that the authorities have not
taken them seriously or properly investigated the allegations.
Repeated allegations increase the hostility and distrust
between the parents. Parents who have the fixed belief
that abuse has occurred—and will continue to occur—then
“rescue” the child, often with the help of supporters who concur
with their beliefs, justify their actions, and often help with
the abduction and concealment. Supporters might include
family members, friends, or underground networks (usually
women) that help “protective” parents (usually women) obtain
new identities and find safe locations.
In a large number of cases, the child has been previously
exposed to neglectful, endangering, or violent environments
(e.g., domestic violence or substance abuse). In
these cases, the courts and child protective services may
have failed to protect the child and the concerned parent or
family member. They may have trivialized the allegations,
dismissing them as invalid or the product of a contentious
divorce. Often, however, the allegation of sexual abuse by a
father or stepfather that motivates a mother to abduct her
child is unsubstantiated. In these cases, the abduction can
psychologically harm the child and the other parent, possibly
leaving their relationship in serious need of repair.

Profile 3: When a Parent Is Paranoid Delusional
Although only a small percentage of parents fit this profile,
these parents present the greatest risk of physical harm or
death to the child, regardless of whether an abduction occurs.
Parents who fit the paranoid profile hold markedly irrational
or psychotic delusions that the other parent will definitely
harm them and/or the child. Believing themselves to
be betrayed and exploited by their former partner, these
parents urgently take what they consider to be necessary
measures to protect themselves and the child.
Psychotic parents do not perceive the child as a separate
person. Rather, they perceive the child as part of
themselves—that is, as a victim (in which case they take
unilateral measures to rescue the child)—or they perceive
the child as part of the hated other parent (in which case
they may precipitously abandon or even kill the child). Marital
separation and/or the instigation of the custody dispute
generally triggers an acute phase of danger for these psychotic
individuals. The result can be not only parental abduction,
but also murder and suicide.

Profile 4: When a Parent Is Severely Sociopathic
Sociopathic parents are characterized by a long history of
flagrant violations of the law and contempt for any authority—
including that of the legal system. Their relationships withother people are self-serving, exploitive, and highly manipulative.
These people are also likely to hold exaggerated
beliefs about their own superiority and entitlement
and are highly gratified by their ability to exert power and
control over others. As with paranoid and delusional parents,
sociopathic parents are unable to perceive their children
as having separate needs or rights. Consequently,
they often use their children as instruments of revenge or
punishment or as trophies in their fight with the former
partner. Sociopathic parents have no qualms about continuing
coercive, controlling, and abusive behavior or abducting
their child, nor do they believe that they should be
punished for their actions. Like paranoia, a diagnosis of
severe sociopathy is rare.

Profile 5: When a Parent Who Is a Citizen of
Another Country Ends a Mixed-Culture Marriage
Parents who are citizens of another country (or who have
dual citizenship with the United States) and have strong
ties to their extended family in their country of origin have
long been recognized as potential abductors. The risk of
abduction is especially acute at the time of parental separation
and divorce, when these parents may feel cast adrift
from their mixed-culture marriage and may need to return
to their ethnic or religious roots to find emotional support
and reconstitute a shaken self-identity. Often in reaction to
being rendered helpless or feeling rejected and discarded
by the former spouse, such parents may try to take unilateral
action by returning with the child to their family of origin.
This is a way of insisting that the abducting parent’s
cultural identity be given preeminent status in the child’s
upbringing.

Profile 6: When Parents Feel Alienated From the
Legal System and Have Family/Social Support
in Another Community
Many subgroups of potential abductors feel alienated from
the judicial system. Listed below are five such subgroups.

1. Parents who are indigent and poorly educated
lack knowledge about custody and abduction laws and cannot
afford the legal representation or psychological counseling that
would help them resolve their disputes. Those parents who
have extended family or other social, emotional, and economic
support in another geographical community may be at risk for
abducting their children.
Subgroup

2. Many parents cannot afford and are unaware of
the need to access the court system. In addition, those who
have had prior negative experiences with civil or criminal
courts do not expect family courts to be responsive to their
values or their plight.
Subgroup

3. Parents who belong to certain ethnic, religious,
or cultural groups may hold views about childrearing that
are contrary to the prevailing custody laws that emphasize
gender neutrality and the rights of both parents. These
parents instead turn to their own social networks for support
and use informal self-help measures rather than the courts
in disputes over the children.
Subgroup

4. A mother who has a transient, unmarried relationship
with her child’s father often views the child as her
property, and her extended family supports this belief. Many
of the women in this subgroup assume they have sole custody
of their child and are genuinely surprised when they are
informed that the father—by law in California and most other
States—has joint rights to the child.
Subgroup

5. Parents who are victims of domestic violence
are at risk of abducting their child, especially when the courts
and community have failed to take the necessary steps to protect
them from abuse or to hold the abuser accountable. Joint
custody, mediated agreements, and visitation orders often
leave victims vulnerable to ongoing violence, despite separation
from the abuser. When such victims abduct their child, the
violent partners may successfully obscure the facts about the
abuse and activate the abduction laws to regain control of their
victims.

Read the entire report here: http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/185026.pdf

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

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A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation


By:Mike Jeffries

A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, is the true story of one parent’s struggle to maintain a normal, loving relationship with his young son in the face of overwhelming odds. From the emotionally devastating actions of the child’s other parent, to a court system and mental health community ill-equipped to deal with a destructive family dynamic, A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation is both an education in parental alienation and an eye opening experience for parents who don’t believe this could happen to them.

Introduction to A Family’s Heartbreak

IN THE SPAN OF SEVEN DAYS I filed for divorce, was arrested and falsely accused of child abuse. I also walked into a clinic with all the symptoms of a heart attack. But you know what? Those events were the high points of my week. Divorce, arrests, child abuse charges and heart attacks are like marching in the Disney World parade compared to the world of parental alienation.

The concept of parental alienation is pretty simple – one parent deliberately damages, and in some cases destroys, the previously healthy, loving relationship between his or her child and the child’s other parent. In a severe case the alienating parent and child work together to successfully eliminate the previously loved Mom or Dad from the child’s life.

My introduction to parental alienation began on the night of July 14, 2004. Until that night my 11-year-old son and I had a wonderful relationship. By the early morning hours of July 15, 2004 we didn’t have a relationship.

I know what you’re thinking – a normal, healthy father/son relationship doesn’t go from hugs to heartbreak in a few hours. I believed the same thing. I was wrong. Parental alienation is like a train barreling through a dark tunnel with its lights off. I was standing in the middle of the tracks when the train emerged from the darkness. I never saw it coming.

Of course, now I can look back and say I should have at least heard the train coming. Now I can point to things my then-wife said to my son one and even two years before that might have set off alarms in my mind. But my son and I had a normal, healthy relationship. I couldn’t conceive that any parent would do something so emotionally destructive to his or her child. What I didn’t realize is that a variety of emotional issues could combine with the anger, hurt and bitterness of divorce to drive some people to unimaginably vindictive and destructive heights.

On that July night my attorney hadn’t even finished drafting my divorce complaint when my future ex-wife started screaming at me within earshot of my son. According to her I was solely responsible for our impending divorce. “Your father is abandoning us,” she told him.

My ex-wife had my son sleep in her bed that night. He was still sleeping in her bed when I moved out of the house one month later. “I need you to protect me,” she kept telling him.

Before I moved out, I couldn’t even get him to have dinner with me. “Please don’t leave me,” Mom begged him. “I don’t want to be alone.”

I’ve learned a lot about parental alienation since those first nights. I’ve had a lot of time on my hands. As I write this, I haven’t spent any time alone with my son in almost three years.

One thing I’ve learned is that an alienating parent is only interested in filling his or her unhealthy emotional needs at the expense of the other parent and their child. The alienating parent doesn’t understand that he or she is also hurting the child by forcing the kid to choose a side in the parental conflict.

I’ve also learned that parental alienation is not just a single crime against the other parent, but three crimes against the child.

The first crime is that the alienating parent doesn’t acknowledge that every child is one half of each parent. Every time the alienating parent tells the child how horrible the other parent is, the alienating parent is telling the child that half of him (or her) is horrible.

The second crime is that the alienating parent teaches the child that cutting off contact with people is an acceptable way to handle anger, hurt and disappointment. The world is full of people. One day the child will be an adult. The child will grow up without the appropriate coping skills to have normal, healthy relationships with other adults.

The third crime is that one day the child will look back on the alienating parent’s behavior from an adult perspective. He or she will then realize that the alienating parent robbed the child of something very precious – the love and attention of the other parent. The child-turned-adult will realize that the trust placed in the alienating parent was misplaced. He or she will feel betrayed. At that point the adult will not just have one damaged relationship with a parent, but damaged relationships with both parents.

The third crime is the worst crime of all.

I’ve learned so much about parental alienation I decided to write this book. But before you read any further there’s something you should know. I’m not a psychologist. I’m not a lawyer. I’m just a Dad. That’s all. A long time ago I would have identified myself as a journalist, but my last byline was during President Ronald Reagan’s administration. The statute of limitations on my journalism credentials expired long ago.

Yet my old journalism experience came in handy when I started studying parental alienation. My goal was to regain my relationship with my son. I knew I lived on an emotional roller coaster of anger, depression, helplessness and disillusionment. How were these emotions affecting my ability to achieve my goal? I couldn’t imagine what my son was living through. How could I address his issues when I didn’t even know what they were? What about family court judges, attorneys, family relation counselors, psychologists, and even the police? How could these divorce-war veterans help, or hurt, my chances of ever having a normal relationship with my son again?

I approached parental alienation like a journalist approaching a news story. I gathered the facts. I interviewed a variety of people – therapists, attorneys and victims. And I passed on everything I learned to the psychologists, attorneys and counselors involved in my case.

Guess what? Many of these professionals had never heard of parental alienation. And the few that had heard of it didn’t really understand how to approach a severe case legally or therapeutically. During my crash course in parental alienation I found lots of valuable books on children and divorce. These books discussed alienation-type symptoms, but few books tackled parental alienation head on.

One book that did tackle the subject was Dr. Richard Gardner’s The Parental Alienation Syndrome. Gardner’s book became my bible. I quoted Gardner chapter and verse when I talked to people involved in my case. But Gardner wrote his book for psychologists and attorneys. On the title page of The Parental Alienation Syndrome, Gardner even calls his book “a guide for mental health and legal professionals.” Naturally, Gardner used a lot of legal and psychological jargon to explain parental alienation.

Since Gardner talked about the life of an alienated parent in clinical terms, I wrote A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation to address alienation in human terms. The book is based on a true story. I wrote it from a parent’s perspective. There’s a big difference between clinically dissecting the anatomy of an alienated parent and being on the receiving end of the alienating behavior. Think about the difference between studying a driver’s manual and climbing behind the wheel of a car for the very first time. Reading the manual doesn’t quite measure up to stepping on the gas pedal.

Since I’m not a psychologist, I left the psychological analysis in this book to a professional with experience helping parental alienation families. I shared my story with him. You can sit in on our “sessions” and hear him clinically explain parental alienation. I’ll also give you my perspective on parental alienation. I’ve learned a lot about the legal and psychological professionals forced to deal with this relatively new phenomenon. Perhaps my perspective will save you some time and money. Maybe my experience will help convince legal and mental health professionals that parental alienation is not something they can just dismiss as “bad parenting.” Most of all, I hope my experience will help your family avoid what my family went through.

A big part of this book relates examples of alienating behavior. Each one is true. I’ve presented some of these examples in the form of a journal. This isn’t merely a writer’s technique. I really kept a journal in the years leading up to and immediately following my divorce. How the journal developed is a story in itself.

At first I told myself I was keeping a journal because I would never remember all the incredible but true events I would need to remember if my divorce went to trial. I was right on both counts. We went to trial, and a large portion of my testimony focused on my future ex-wife’s alienating behavior. I wouldn’t have remembered a fraction of that behavior without the journal. I highly recommend keeping a journal to anyone who anticipates a nasty trial and child custody battle.

I also discovered that keeping a journal is good therapy. There were many times during my ordeal when I became frustrated or angry. My overwhelming desire at those times was to call someone, anyone, involved in my case and just start yelling. Writing down my frustrations rather than subjecting someone to them was a much better way to handle my emotions.

One day I was writing in my journal when the old journalist inside me re-emerged. I began thinking about parental alienation as a story that needed telling. I found myself editing my journal entries like a copy editor – shortening sentences, comparing verb tenses and double-checking facts. At that point I began not only writing for me but also for you.

Since I was writing for both of us, I had to make some decisions on your behalf. I edited the story heavily to keep the focus on alienation rather than divorce. I also grouped similar examples of alienating behavior together in the journal chapters to illustrate certain concepts better. Finally, I had to make a decision on the use of gender and pronouns when talking about parents and children.

I couldn’t write an entire book writing Mom or Dad, him or her, he or she, every time I referred to a parent. In some chapters I thought it was important to remain gender neutral in my references to the alienating parent. Despite my best efforts, you’ll notice how awkward the language became. So in other parts of the book I picked a gender for the alienating parent, the alienated parent and the alienated child and stuck with those choices. I also had to decide whether to discuss the alienated child in the singular “child” or the plural “children.” So in the pages that follow the alienating parent is generally described as female. The alienated parent is male. The alienated child is male and referred to in the singular rather than the plural.

To be honest, I didn’t spend much time considering alternatives. I am an alienated father, I was married to an alienating mother and my son is an alienated child. I tried not to confuse either of us by using one set of pronouns to tell my family’s story and another set of pronouns for generic references.

I sincerely apologize to all alienated Moms if I make it appear that only Dads are victims of parental alienation. Fathers successfully alienate children from mothers too. I’ve heard from many alienated mothers who are suffering the pain and heartache that only an alienated parent can know. I decided to title this book, A Family’s Heartbreak: A Parent’s Introduction to Parental Alienation, because Moms, Dads and children are victims of alienating behavior. In the final analysis, an alienating parent is an alienating parent – regardless of gender. If alienated mothers were to change all my male references to female references and vice versa, the examples and explanations of parental alienation would apply equally to them.

Another decision I had to make was whether to follow Dr. Richard Gardner’s lead and write about parental alienation as a syndrome, PAS, or focus on parental alienation behaviors. In this case I did spend a long time considering my decision.

I ultimately decided to drop “Syndrome” from all my parental alienation references because PAS isn’t in the DSM — the psychology profession’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. The manual is the clinician’s bible – a guide to symptoms and syndromes and the definitive diagnosis on any legitimate mental health condition.

PAS may not be in the DSM, but alienating behavior still inflicts pain, heartache and incalculable emotional damage on the children, parents and extended family members involved in these horrible situations. Parents on the receiving end of alienating behavior don’t really care if professionals classify the behavior as a syndrome or a bad alignment of the stars and planets. They just want someone to help them restore their previously normal, loving relationships with their children.

I believe one day mental health professionals will classify parental alienation as a “Syndrome.” Until then, I am quite comfortable writing about “parental alienation” as behavior and let others debate what to call this very destructive family dynamic. However, I did use the phrase “Parental Alienation Syndrome” or “PAS” in this book when I discussed or quoted other professionals who used the phrase in their work.

I didn’t plan on writing the definitive work on parental alienation and in that respect I’ve succeeded. Writers do their best work writing about their experiences. Not all alienation cases resemble my family’s story. An alienated parent needs to examine his or her own personal situation and consult with professionals before completely understanding the circumstances of his or her own case. But whether you are male or female, I hope this story helps you find some answers, comfort and solutions to your alienation nightmare.

I also hope you become outraged that parents alienate their children from the other parent. I hope you become further outraged that judges, attorneys and many mental health professionals consider the actions of an alienating parent just part of a normal day at the office when working divorce and child custody cases. I hope you recognize that parental alienation is a form of emotional child abuse that we can’t ignore any longer.

Most of all, I hope that this book, in some small way, helps alienated parents and children begin rebuilding their previously loving relationships.

By:Mike Jeffries

ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

How to recover your abducted child


Are you prepared in the event your child is abducted?

Seconds Count: Don’t Wait for an Abduction to Gather Information

Are you prepared in the event your child is abducted? Every parent tries to prepare their child for a possible abduction but parents also need to be prepared in the event the worst does happen?

Teaching you children to be careful does not stop an abduction but the better prepared parents are the better chance we have of recovering our children before it’s too late.

The most common form of child abduction is now known as parental abduction. It is not uncommon for a parent to abduct their own child as a form of revenge against their ex-spouse. Even if your former spouse does not seem like a vengeful person it is best to be prepared for the worst rather than being blindsided if your child is abducted by your ex.

Always have the following information in a place that you can easily access if you find yourself on the wrong end of such a crime. Many of the following apply for either parental or stranger abduction.

• Current photos and video of child and former spouse
• Up to date child ID kit.
• DNA Sample
• Description of former spouse’s car and plate numbers
• List of tattoos or distinguishing marks on both child and former spouse

Stranger abductions are less common but there is still a very real risk of your child being abducted out of a school yard or even from your own backyard. According to the FBI about 300 children are victims of stranger abduction every year. In order to assist the police and speed their ability to recover your child quickly from an abductor make sure you pay attention to the clothes your child walks out of the house in order give an accurate description.

Be aware of any strangers or vehicles hanging around the neighborhood or schoolyard. Always have your child’s ID kit and DNA sample in a safe but convenient place so when the police arrive you have them ready.

-Get a good lawyer with experience from child abduction cases

-Contact your closest missing children organisation

-Contact the police to report your child missing/abducted

-Don`t wait for the police to solve the case,..They usually never put any effort in this kind of cases

-Talk with other parents who has been in the same situation, and ask what they did to get their children back

-Search answers from specialists in abducted children retrievals

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

Groundbreaking Documentary On International Parental Child Abduction Prepares For Worldwide Release


Peter Thomas Senese and Pacifica are pleased to announce the upcoming worldwide film release of CHASING PARENTS: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction.

PR Log (Press Release)Feb 25, 2010 – For Peter Thomas Senese, the near four-year journey leading up to his upcoming international release of the documentary film titled ‘CHASING PARENTS: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’ has been one filled with a full array of great challenges and extraordinary accomplishments.

The acclaimed writer, who writes under Peter Senese and Peter Thomas, raced into the brutal and at times deadly storms, other Chasing Parents encounter in the wake of the international abduction of their defenseless child.  For Peter Thomas, the most difficult challenge he faced was coping with the concern over his child’s safety while navigating the long and complex road he would have to endure in order to protect his young son.  The triumphs, and there have been many, include first and foremost, what every Chasing Parent desires most: the safe recovery and return of their child.

‘CHASING PARENTS’ is one of the very first documentary films that extensively addresses the full scope of the massive, but seldom spoken crisis stolen children and their Chasing Parents left behind in the aftermath of the criminal abduction of their child must face.

Unfortunately, and tragically, there exists a growing worldwide epidemic that destroys the lives of most who cross its path, including innocent children, and its name is International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  Each year, tens of thousands of children are abducted by one parent from another and taken across international borders without the knowledge and permission of the other parent.  Many of these children never come home.  Many disappear.  Some are lost forever.

In the United States, it is believed that there are over 11,000 internationally criminally abducted children who have not been brought home.  This number is believed to be significantly higher because it does not include a large number of cases not filed with the United States Central Authority due to either technicalities (previously including military personnel who were unable to file while living abroad, and presently including dual parent green-card holders, political asylum cases, etc.), or the prevalent feeling of hopelessness felt by many parents based upon the extremely high recovery cost, a complex legal maze, and belief that there exists nationalistic prejudices in foreign countries. This equates to the belief that it is nearly impossible to recover their abducted child.

The highly educational and eye-opening film consists of seven main segments: Part I – Introduction, Part II – Warning Signs, Part III – Abduction in Progress, Part IV – Parental Alienation and Child Abduction, Part V – Post Abduction Reunification, Part VI – Reform and Change, and Part VII – Laws and Credits.

The now completed production and upcoming release of this invaluable documentary is, for Peter Thomas Senese, the completion of a two-part educational project he promised to create once his journey of chasing the cyclones of international parental child abduction ended.  It is the Writer – Producer’s hope and aspiration to increase local and global dialogue concerning prevention, education, and accountability of all legal systems, institutions, and governments responsible to uphold laws pertaining to the welfare and safety of children.

The children’s advocate, writing under his first and middle name, Peter Thomas, will release ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ in the late spring, 2010.  Reviewers and critics are praising ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ as an extraordinary, masterfully written story of a father’s love for his son, and heralding Peter Thomas Senese as a writer of great distinction.  ‘Chasing The Cyclone’, written in the form of a novel, was inspired by the author’s experiences as a Chasing Parent.

“‘Chasing The Cylone’ will shake the audience, this exciting cautionary thriller grips readers from the onset …” Amazon # 1 Reviewer, Harriet Klausner

“Peter Thomas now opens the windows on the magnitude of these tragedies in his excellent ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ … As if the fast paced energy of this story weren’t enough to satisfy the reader, Peter Thomas demonstrates his quality as a writer of distinction on many levels … this impossible to put down …” Amazon # 3 Reviewer, Dr. Grady Harp

“‘Chasing The Cycone’ isn’t just a powerful novel, it’s a call to arms against a growing epidemic that is tearing lives apart … a superb, can’t put down novel, though; it is a book with a purpose … Peter Thomas has become an outspoken advocate on this issue … I would go so far as to encourage every loving parent to read this book, as the bond between this father and son is one to be emulated …” Amazon # 14 Reviewer, Daniel Jolley

“‘Chasing The Cyclone’ is a must read.  You will not be able to put it down.  It may very well change the way you look at life, child custody …” I cannot endorse this book enough … The Examiner

“[In ‘Chasing The Cyclone’] Peter Thomas masterfully reveals the disturbing world of an abducted child … Peter has taken the tragedy of his child’s abduction and the remarkable efforts he implemented in order to reunite with his child, and worked not only to share it in a manner that seeks to educate the reader, but has embraced his experience to provide relief for other families caught in this global epidemic …” Maureen Dabbagh: Parent International

Peter Thomas Senese fully supports The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction.  However, as he points out in both ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ and in ‘CHASING PARENTS: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’, the grave failures in the areas of research and education, combined with an inept global approach toward prevention, has taxed the international judicial system created via The Hague Convention.  Extending the difficulties many Chasing Parents face is the fact that many nation-signatories of The Hague Convention fail to enforce the rules of the international treaty they signed.  Additionally, many nations, including those in the Middle East and Asia have not signed the international treaty, which creates near-impossible hurdles for Chasing Parents seeking the lawful return of their abducted child from non-signatory nations.  Accountability is critical, yet there appears to be limited accountability throughout the system.  This is something Senese heavily weighs in on.

Segments of ‘CHASING PARENTS: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’ are presently available for preview at Chasing The Cyclone’s official website, http://www.chasingthecyclone.com.  Peter Thomas Senese points out that ‘CHASING PARENTS: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’ was made possible due to other Chasing Parents, children of abduction, and leading government and private sector experts working in the area of IPCA’s eagerness to contribute to this desperately needed film.

The filmmaker strongly points out that making this film would have been impossible if not for the assistance he received from key individuals at  the U.S. Department of State – Office Of Children’s Issues, Canada’s Ministry of Attorney General, and New Zealand’s Ministry of Justice when he was ‘Chasing The Cyclone’.

Pacifica and Peter Thomas Senese intend to offer complimentary DVD’s of this film to all requesting government agencies and institutions, courts, educators, and organizations that provide outreach to child-victims and their families upon its release later this Spring. It is Peter Thomas Senese’s hope that the film will be used as a resource tool that will increase awareness and educate others in order to bring about reform and change in the name of the best interest of children everywhere.

To preview ‘CHASING PARENTS: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’ please visit http://www.chasingthecyclone.com or http://www.petersenese.com.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

New Definition of Parental Alienation Syndrome


What is the Difference Between Parental Alienation (PA) and Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)?

by Douglas Darnall

In Dr. Richard Gardner’s second edit of parental alienation syndrome, he defined PAS as “a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrination and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the targeted parent.” He went on to emphasize the point that if “true parental abuse and / or neglect is present” and the child’s animosity is justified, PAS would not be an appropriate explanation for the children’s feelings.

Gardner describes what the severely alienated child will look like. To better understand PAS and help prevent the damage its causes children and families, I am suggesting that parents and the courts must understand the process that leads to PAS. Therefore I am defining parental alienation (PA), rather than PAS, as any constellation of behaviors, whether conscious or unconscious, that could evoke a disturbance in the relationship between a child and the other parent.


My definition of Parental Alienation is different from Dr. Gardner’s original definition of PAS in 1987: “a disturbance in which children are preoccupied with deprecation and criticism of a parent-denigration that is unjustified and/or exaggerated.” I am placing the emphasis on the brainwashing process while Dr. Gardner’s definition goes a step further to explain that the term is similar in meaning to brainwashing except that he adds the additional component of the child becoming active participant in the denigrating the targeted parent. In effect, the child has been successfully brainwashed.

With either definition, the motivation for the alienating parent has both a conscious as well as “a subconscious or unconscious” component.

The children themselves may have motivations that will make the alienation worse. Their hedonistic outlook for immediate gratification or their desire to avoid discomfort makes them vulnerable allies for siding with the alienating parent. The children become an advocate for the alienating parent by becoming the spokesperson for their parent’s hatred. They become the soldiers while the alienating parent is the general directing the action in the background against the targeted parent. The children are frequently unaware of how they are being used. It is most important to understand that if the child is angry and refuses to visit the targeted parent because of actual abuse or neglect, the child’s behavior is not a manifestation of PAS. This is why the issue of false allegations is so important.

Another difference in what I am outlining in my book (“Divorce Casualties: Protecting Your Children From Parental Alienating“) is my emphasis on the alienating parents rather then on the severity of symptoms. I believe this is important because parents (both mothers and fathers) must be able to honestly look at their behavior, identify the symptoms of alienation (not just the symptoms of PAS), and learn strategies for preventing PA regardless of whether the parent is the alienator or the targeted parent. I believe that alienation is a reciprocal process where both parents get caught up in alienation.

Dr. Gardner’s most controversial solution for dealing with severe alienation was to remove the children from the alienator’s home and place the child with the targeted parent. Later, however, he recanted his recommendation, saying that the children “are likely to run away and do everything possible to return to [the alienating parent’s] home (Gardner, 1992).”  Dr. Gardner then recommended “transitional sites” such as friend or family member’s house, a community shelter, or hospital. Each site would have a different level of supervision and resources to help the children and targeted parent. Hospitalization would be used only as a last resort.

Dr. Gardner’s definition emphasized the point that the child must be an active participant with the alienating parent in degrading the targeted parent.  My definition of Parental Alienation (PA) focuses more on the parent’s behavior and less on the child’s role in degrading the victimized parent, because alienation can occur well before the parent’s hatred for the other parent permeates the child’s beliefs about the victimized parent. This definition is necessary if parents are going to recognize the risk they have for unconsciously falling into a pattern of alienation if they don’t take corrective action. By the time the children have come to agree with the alienating parent’s propaganda, it can too late to prevent the significant damaging effects of the alienation. *(See Note at the end of this article for an important new finding.)
Also, Dr. Gardner’s definition states that the criticism of the other parent must be unjustified and/or exaggerated. I do not believe this is necessary. One parent can alienate the children against the other parent simply by harping on faults that are real and provable. Divorced parents need to understand that their children need to love both parents if at all possible, even if they themselves have years ago ceased to love their ex-spouse or ex-partner. They should help the children to dwell on the other parent’s good points rather than the faults.

It is important to keep in mind that that alienation is not about the horrible parent or “bad guy,” versus the targeted parent or “good guy.” The “bad guy-good guy” roles rotate. The same parent can be both the alienator and the victim, depending on how he or she is behaving. It is not uncommon for a targeted parent to retaliate with alienating behavior against the other parent. At this point, the parents have reversed their roles. This process can occur well before PAS manifest itself. The problem now is that the alienation escalates back and forth, each parent retaliating against the other. What does this do to your children? It is this vicious cycle that must be prevented or stopped.

You can’t assume that the targeted parent is without fault. Targeted parents can become alienators when they retaliate because of their hurt. Now they are in the role of the alienator and the other parent becomes the victim. The roles become blurred because it’s now difficult to know who is the alienator and who is the victim or targeted parent. Often both parents feel victimized. Alienation is a process, not a person.

Understanding parental alienation is paramount for a child’s welfare and a parent’s own peace of mind. Divorced parents, grandparents, judges, mediators, attorneys, and mental health workers all need to understand the dynamics of parental alienation, recognize the symptomatic behavior, and execute tactics for combating the malady.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

What Does a Severely Alienated Child look like?


  • The child has a relentless hatred for towards the targeted parent.
  • The child parrots the Obsessed Alienator, and makes statements against the targeted parent.
  • The child does not want to visit or spend any time with the targeted parent.
  • Many of the child’s beliefs are enmeshed with the alienator.
  • The child’s stated beliefs are delusional and frequently irrational.
  • The child is not intimidated by the court.
  • Frequently, the child’s reasons are not based on personal experiences with the targeted parent.  Instead, the reasons reflect what the child is told by the Obsessed Alienator. The child has difficulty making any differentiation between the two.
  • The child has no ambivalence in his feelings; it’s all hatred, with no ability to see the good.  (Black and White thinking)
  • The child has no capacity to feel guilty about how he or she behaves toward the targeted parent; The child cannot forgive any past indiscretions or parenting mistakes.
  • The child shares the Obsessed Alienator’s cause. Together, they are in lockstep to denigrate the hated parent.
  • The child’s obsessional hatred extends to the targeted parent’s extended family without any guilt or remorse.
  • The child can appear like any other normal and healthy child — until asked about the targeted parent, which then triggers the child’s hatred.

by Douglas Darnall, Ph.D.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com