From Where I'm Standing

Musings on life during and after child-abduction by Melissa "Liss" Haviv

Why Increased Social Awareness of Family Abduction Can Lower the Incidence Rate and Duration



I was interviewed in the Huffington Post about family abduction today. Take Root sent a follow-up announcement asking supporters to share the article on social media to demonstrate interest in media coverage of this topic, because we have reason to believe that increased social awareness can decrease the incidence rate and shorten the duration of instances of family abduction. When someone wrote back to ask why, I realized the answer should be a public post.

Here is the reasoning and the data behind my assertion that increased social awareness of family abduction can play a role in decreasing the incidence rate and duration of instances:

1. 65% of Take Root’s family-abducted members who were surveyed report that their taking parent thought the abduction was in their kid’s best interest….but only 11% of those members agree with the taking parent’s assessment. This can be read as reinforcing abundant anecdotal evidence that many of the parents who abducted our members failed to comprehend the profound trauma and devastation being inflicted on the child (why should they be any different than most people? Few people can fully grasp the profound implications without education on the issue). We have other data demonstrating that among the cases in our membership there are abducting parents who would have been stopped by better information about the impact and outcomes for the child (I haven’t asked her, because we don’t speak, but I am pretty certain my own mother is one of them).

2. In every family abduction case in Take Root’s database, at least one other person besides the taking parent knew what the parent was planning beforehand and/or knew where the child was during the abduction . . . and remained silent. The more people understand the trauma inflicted on the child, the more likely it becomes that others will step forward to dissuade or report taking parents.

3. Not one of our members who was taken by a family member understood at the time of the event that they had been abducted and that it was an illegal act. Many members (myself included) were well into adulthood before learning that what happened to them as kids had a name and was a crime. And many have said that if they’d had a context for understanding the situation while it was occurring, they likely would have responded differently (for example, contacting left behind family or telling a teacher or policeman).

4. And, in line with #3, the more society as a whole grasps that family abduction is ABDUCTION and PROFOUNDLY TRAUMATIC and not a custody battle, the more likely it is that a teacher or policeman or anyone else in whom a family-abducted child confides will take appropriate action.

…so please, friends, visit the page containing the article in the Huffington Post today and use the social media sharing buttons you will find there to share the article on twitter and Facebook, as a way of demonstrating that there is interest in media coverage of family abduction! Here’s the link:

A great big thank you to Tony Loftis from Find Your Missing Child and his terrific editor, Kristin, for today’s coverage! I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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