Though some people consider it unthinkable, parental child abduction or kidnapping does occur. A parent may sometimes attempt to keep their child away from the other parent, occasionally even fleeing with the child to another state or country. It is an event that often has long-term effects on the child’s mental health.
Parental child abduction may also occur in cases where a parent attempts to stop a social worker from taking the child into the care of authorities.
Shaynelaw.com, an attorney, based in Colorado Springs, states that there are specific laws that deal specifically with parental child abduction. The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA) and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) are designed to protect the children and the parental rights of the victimized parent.
Violation of Parenting Rights
Parental child abduction is a violation of parental rights. Even if the offending parent is the one who has custody of the child, under court law, they are not allowed to separate or alienate their child from the other parent.
Visiting parents have all the right to exercise their parental rights and to form a close bond with their child. Kidnapping or taking their own child hostage is a punishable offense. Parents who suspect that their child has been kidnapped by another parent should call law enforcement immediately.
Negative Mental Effects
Parental child abduction has long-term effects on the mental health of the child. Children who have been abducted by their parents will often experience strong feelings of loneliness, shame and insecurity. They feel confused and guilty about their situation. Others will feel angry and try to lash out.
These issues can persist into adulthood. In some cases, it can influence the way that the child interacts with others and put a strain on their adult relationships. Emotional shock and disassociation are extremely common, and children who have been kidnapped by their parents are at a higher risk of depression.
Parental child abduction is a serious crime where everyone is affected negatively. Ultimately, often the children who suffer most as a result.