Abduction can be defined as the unlawful removal of a person by enticing them or by force, mostly where it interferes with a relationship. The term is mostly used to refer to the illegal removal of children from the care of their parents or guardians appointed by the law. A child being separated from their parents illegally is a common type of abduction.
Prevalence of Abduction
It is documented that every 40 seconds, a child disappears in the United States. In the case a child goes missing, the initial 3 hours after the disappearance are the most critical in locating the child while they are safe, according to research. This is because 76.2% of murder children are killed within 3 hours of abduction. Obtaining information about a missing child from a panicked guardian or parent can take up to over 2 hours. Annually, over 800,000 children go missing in the United States. An abducted person can legally be declared dead in absentia after 7 years missing. The time can be reduced at times especially after mass disasters where bodies are not found. The number of missing people has increased drastically over the past decades. In 1980, the total reported missing people were approximately 150,000 compared to 900,000 in 2010.
Researchers observe that missing people from ethnic minority groups receive little or no sympathy from authorities, the press, or the public. This intensifies when the missing person is either mentally unstable or abuses substances. Little attention goes into their welfare. In most official jurisdictions, the case of a missing person usually receives low priority. This is because authorities consider homicides, robberies, rape, assault, and traffic issues as more urgent. There are over 40,000 sets of unclaimed and unidentified remains in the offices of medical examiners and coroners offices in the United States. The number can as well be the population of a town. At any given time, as many as 100,000 active missing people cases are worked on in the US. Of the 692,944 reported missing persons in 2010, those under the age of 18 were 531,928. Data from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), states that 355, 243 women were reported missing in 2010 compared to 337,660 men.
Types of Abduction
The major types of abduction are categorized according to the abductors relation to the victim. The two categories are family abductions and nonfamily abductions.
Family abduction is defined as the taking of a child by a member of their family which violates a court custody order, a decree or other legal custodial rights. The taking usually involves a degree of concealment or escape and is designed to deny the legal custodian of their legal right to custody. Family abduction is the most prominent form of abduction and comprises 49% of reported offences. The perpetrator is usually the father or the father figure of the victim. Victims are mostly children who are yet to hit their teens.
Abduction normally follows after a dispute with their partner. They abduct the child in fear of losing a custody dispute with their partner, out of anger or to rescue the child from an abusive situation. The behavior can be regarded as problematic or abnormal where the abductor has an abusive, violent, or mentally unstable history. The abduction is always as a result of disagreement with the partner. Abduction by a parental figure is usually a desperate measure because the abductor chooses not to legally prove their capabilities of having legal custody of the child, but instead abducts their relation which is illegal.in most cases, this kind of abduction rarely features violence. Moreover, in majority cases, the victims are usually located and returned to their homes safely in most instances.
The motives for a family abduction vary. One is paranoia, a parent may have fears that are baseless and decide to keep their child away from the other legal custodian in the hope of rescuing them from harm.this kind of mental instability may make the abductor view any conflict with their partner as a revelation of the partners incompetence as a custodian. Another motive for family abductions is abuse. Where there is an abusive relationship, the non-abusive partner may decide on abduction as a course of action to prevent the abuse and protect the child. On the other hand, an abusive partner can also abduct the child as a form of revenge against the other custodian. Social or peer influences can also motivate abduction. The family or friends of an abductor may encourage the guardian or parent to take custody of the child without following the legal procedures. The family or friends may provide justifications to their opinions and may or may not lend assistance during the act itself.
Involve the illegal taking into custody of a person by an offender who is not a family member. They may coerce by incentives or use force, or threaten to inflict bodily harm. They may also detain the victim for a period more than an hour without legal authority from the custodian or court.
Nonfamily abductions can be categorized into two groups depending on the victims knowledge of the perpetrator. They can be acquaintance abductions or stranger abductions. Stranger abductions are carried out by perpetrator(s) whom the victim is not familiar with. Females are more likely to fall victim to stranger abduction than males. The common reason is for sexual assault. It mainly occurs at outdoor locations. The abductor may use force or persuasion with an ulterior motive. Boys are more likely to be abducted for robbery though not in all cases. The probability of a firearm or weapon being used is highest in stranger kidnapping.
Acquaintance kidnapping involves a perpetrator who is mostly familiar to the victim such as neighbor or babysitter. Statistics shows it has the highest rates of violence and injured victims. A lot of it occurs indoors. It is more often associated with physical and sexual assault. A lot of juvenile perpetrators are involved in this. This is attributed to their inability to make wise decisions at their age.
Abduction involves taking away a victim from the legal guardian or custodian without due legal order. The victims of abductions are mostly children who are yet to reach their teens. Teens are also prone to abduction. Abduction may be carried out by a family relation, an acquaintance, or a stranger. Family abductions result from disputes between partners, mistrust, or paranoia. Family abductions however, have a reduced casualty rate and most of the time victims are restored to their custodians. Nonfamily abductions have a high rate of casualties. The statistics show a rising prevalence of abduction. Abduction is a growing threat to the wellbeing of children and adults alike.
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