Family abduction (also often referred to as family child abduction, parental abduction, parental child abduction, or parental kidnapping) is technically defined as: “The taking or keeping of a child by a family member in violation of a custody order, a decree, or other legitimate custodial rights, where the taking or keeping involved some element of concealment, flight, or intent to deprive a lawful custodian indefinitely of custodial privileges”.
Specific Definitional Elements
• Taking: Child was taken by a family member in violation of a custody order or decree or other legitimate custodial right.
• Keeping: Child was not returned or given over by a family member in violation of a custody order or decree or other legitimate custodial right.
• Concealment: Family member attempted to conceal the taking or whereabouts of the child with the intent to prevent return, contact, or visitation.
• Flight: Family member transported or had the intent to transport the child from the State for the purpose of making recovery more difficult.
• Intent to deprive indefinitely: Family member indicated an intent to prevent contact with the child on an indefinite basis or to affect custodial privileges indefinitely.
• Child: Person under 18 years of age. For a child 15 or older, there needs to be evidence that the family
member used some kind of force or threat to take or to detain the child, unless the child was mentally disabled.
• Family member: A biological, adoptive, or foster family member; someone acting on behalf of such a family member; or the romantic partner of a family member.
Source: Nismart-2, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice
Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention