As millions of children return to school, parents may wonder, “Is my child safe from being abducted?”
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, nearly 800,000 children are reported missing each year. Of those cases, 204,000 are classified as child abductions. Minorities make up 65 percent of those reported.
The types of abductions can be classified as the following:
Non-family Abductions - when a non-family member takes a child either by force or threat of bodily harm, or detains the child in an isolated location without parental consent.
Kidnappings - when a stranger abducts a child, detains them without parental consent, transports them 50 miles or more from home, and holds them either for ransom, or with the intent to keep the child permanently.
Family Abductions - when a family member violates custody orders and either takes the child from, or fails to return the child to, the custodial parent.
Parents who fear for their child’s safety should first know the realities of child abduction:
- Most children who are reported missing have run away or there has been a misunderstanding with their parents about where they should be
- Most kids and teens who are abducted, are taken by a family member or an acquaintance; 25% of kids are taken by strangers
- Almost all children kidnapped by strangers are taken by men, and about two thirds of stranger abductions involve female children
- Most abducted children are in their teens
- Kids are rarely abducted from school grounds
When a child is abducted by a member of their own family, child custody experts say that people kidnap their own children for the following reasons:
- To force a reconciliation or continued interaction with the other parent
- To spite or punish the other parent
- From fear of losing custody or visitation rights
- In rare cases, to protect the child from a parent who is perceived to molest, abuse, or neglect the child
In terms of family abductions, here are some tips from Black and Missing Foundation, Inc., (BAM FI), on how to protect your child and yourself:
- Respect the other parent’s custody and visitation rights. Anger, frustration and desperation are leading causes of family abduction
- Begin the custody process immediately. You cannot prove your custody rights without a custody order
- Include abduction prevention measures in the custody order; keep a certified copy of the custody order with you at home
- Record and document abduction threats. Report them immediately to family court or your lawyer
- Notify schools, healthcare providers, day care and baby sitters of custody orders. Certified copies of custody orders should be on file at the school office, etc
- Keep lists of identifying information about the non-custodial parent, including social security numbers, current photos, license plate numbers and bank and credit card accounts
The purpose of Black and Missing Foundation, Inc., (BAM FI) is to increase the awareness of missing persons of color. If you have information about a child that was reported missing, or want to report a missing child, please contact BAM FI at (877) 97-BAMFI (1-877-972-2634), or the local police department (9-1-1).