Friday, March 12, 2004

Child Abduction

This article highlights the propensity of a child to be kidnapped by someone they know, which cites sources saying 78% of abductions are done by someone known to the child. The article goes on further to cite custody battles as a potential catalyst for such kidnappings. The further I got into this article, the more upset it made me, so I wrote a letter to the editor. I am including it here:

On 3/11/04 the San Francisco Chronicle published an article titled "The Secret Truth About Child Abduction" by Jenni Thompson. The article highlighted the propensity of abductions by someone known to the child. It briefly discussed parental abductions: "What drives parents to kidnap their own children? The most common motives are revenge against the other parent and anger at losing a child during a volatile custody battle. While some parents abduct to rescue kids from suspected abuse, these cases are rare."
While it is truly relevant for the public to realize the statistics behind child abductions, to gloss over potential reasons so blithely is a disservice to your readers. Particularly problematic is that Ms Thompson alludes to cases related to abuse but dismisses those just as quickly and provides no sources to demonstrate the extent of those abductions.
While there is no excuse to kidnap your child, as the author admits often protracted and contentious custody battles result in such actions. The readers of the Chronicle deserve to have the catalyst examined as well as the results. I realize that was likely not the intent of this article. Nonetheless, we have a judicial system that more often than not awards custody to mothers simply because they are mothers. Fathers are severely disadvantaged in family courts when pertaining to child custody. If Ms. Thompson is so comfortable citing custody battles as the impetus for an abduction she should feel compelled to research such battles. She might be surprised to find that if courts considered parents equal and truly respected the right of the children to maintain continued and meaningful contact with both parents, the abduction rate by family members would drop considerably.
As a start I would recommend Ms Thompson review the study titled "Child Custody Policies and Divorce Rates in the US" which was presented at 11th Annual Conference of the Children's Rights Council.
It is truly ironic that while our country continues to debate gay marriage and the ensuing problems presented by gay divorce (child custody, spousal maintenance, etc...) we interminably ignore the inherent problems with traditional divorce.

To read the article link here:

To contact the editor link here: Feedback. If you contact the editor make sure to reference the specific article. Be polite but firm and present your thoughts in a clear and supported manner. Good Luck!

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