WHEN PARENTS KIDNAP: The Families Behind the Headlines by Geoffrey L. & Rebecca L. Hegar Greif

WHEN PARENTS KIDNAP: The Families Behind the Headlines

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Each year, more than 300,000 American parents abduct their children. Here, this phenomenon is explored by two professors of social work at the University of Maryland. Greif and Hegar surveyed 371 parents (and grandparents) who had contacted missing-children organizations. More than half of those who completed the researchers' extensive questionnaire granted follow-up interviews, and the authors gathered further information through interviews with abducted children, abductors, and other family members. The team of writers looks first at the experiences of parents whose children have been abducted, especially parents' relationships with the abductor and the circumstances that led up to the abduction. The authors then focus on the abductors and how their conduct is affected by custody arrangements and the presence of violence in the family. How children are recovered and the effects on them of abduction and recovery are explored, and there is a brief look at international abductions. Case histories abound in each of these sections, dramatizing and humanizing the authors' statistics and lightening what is sometimes a rather wooden text. The authors offer advice to parents and to social workers and other professionals on coping with the trauma of abduction, and they propose recommendations for public policy changes designed to prevent parental abductions and to resolve them when they do occur. The authors emphasize that the motivations of abductors and the circumstances surrounding abductions are so varied (e.g., a mother fleeing violence, a father seeking custody) that a range of social and legal responses is essential. Not a behind-the-headlines exposÉ, but an earnest and thoughtful introduction to a perplexing problem whose complexities require further research.

Pub Date: Dec. 7th, 1992
ISBN: 1451602359
Page count: 195pp
Publisher: Free Press/Macmillan