Parental Child Abduction

I can’t even comment on this article because it just brings me to tears. Click here to read the full post or an excerpt below.


The Impact

The victimization and harm experienced by a child who has been abducted by a parent continues with each day that the child is not returned to her home and community. The impact of the abduction on the child, the searching parent and the extended family is significant. This impact can also be felt by the surrounding community, the child’s friends, teachers and neighbours who are suddenly faced with the child’s absence.

The abduction of a child by her parent can have a range of consequences.

Short-Term Abductions

Short-term abductions (for example keeping the child for a day longer than expected) may cause harm to a child by making them feel:

  • Confused
  • Like they have to choose between parents
  • Like they have betrayed one or both parents
  • Like they are the cause of all the fighting

Long-Term Abductions

In addition to the impacts listed above, when a child is abducted for a longer period of time, for example moved to another province or removed from the country, there are many more concerning impacts. These kinds of abductions can cause harm to a child by:

  • Removing them from their home community and the stability of their surroundings
  • Isolating the child — often these children are not placed in school and have limited social interactions for fear of being discovered
  • Alienating the child from the other parent
  • Impacting the child’s ability to form trusting relationships
  • Preventing a very young child from ever forming an early childhood bond with the other parent
  • Causing the child culture shock depending on where they are taken
  • Isolating the child so much that they form an “unhealthy bond with the abductor”
  • Subjecting the child to emotional, physical or sexual abuse

Even following a successful recovery, an abducted child’s life has been altered. The child often has to deal with the impacts of being behind in school, and alienated from friends, family and community. The child may be robbed of their ability to have trusting relationships. Ultimately, the taking of a child from their home and community in this manner may cause a disruption in their childhood that can impact their lives for many years after reunification. Canadians must challenge the notion that parental abduction is ‘not that bad’ because the child is with a parent. Denying a child access to their other parent, their family and their community deprives them of important relationships and can cause a great deal of psychological and physical harm.

For more information on the effects of parental child abduction on children, please see


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