Family abduction in a national sample of US children.

Academic Article


  • This study examined the prevalence and characteristics of family abduction episodes occurring in a nationally representative sample of US children ages 0-17. It drew on the experiences of 13,052 children and youth from the aggregation of three cross-sectional waves (2008, 2011, and 2014) of the National Surveys of Children Exposed to Violence. The overall prevalence rate was 4.1% for a lifetime and 1.2% for a past year episode. Rates were higher for younger than older children. Parents constituted 90% of the abductors with females outnumbering males 60% to 40%, although men outnumbered women as perpetrators for certain types of abductions. A bit less than half of the episodes (43%) were reported to police. The experience of a lifetime family abduction had an independent association with traumatic stress symptoms independent of exposure to other kinds of victimization including child maltreatment and witnessing family violence.
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • May 2017
  • Published In


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child abuse
  • Child maltreatment
  • Child, Preschool
  • Crime
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Custody disputes
  • Domestic Violence
  • Exposure to Violence
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Missing children
  • Parents
  • Prevalence
  • United States
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 27884506
  • Start Page

  • 403
  • End Page

  • 407
  • Volume

  • 67