police recorded cover webPolice-recorded child abduction and kidnapping 2014/15 England, Wales and Northern Ireland

 In 2015 Action Against Abduction sent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to each police force in the UK. The FOI requests asked forces to provide the number of parental child abductions, non-parental child abductions and child kidnappings recorded in 2014/15. The returns were compared to the same data for 2012/13 and 2013/14 published last year.

This statistical paper reports the key findings:

  • Overall there were 1,141 child abduction and kidnapping offences recorded in 2014/15 by police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • There were large increases in non-parental child abductions (47 per cent) and child kidnapping (18 per cent), though police-recorded parental child abduction decreased slightly. It is likely that many parental child abductions are not reported to, or recorded by, police.
  • The explanation for these increases may – at least in part – lie in changes to police crime-recording practices. Some incidents which may previously have gone unrecorded may now be recorded as a crime.
  • Police force initiatives to tackle child sexual exploitation may also be having a sizeable effect on trends in recorded crime, as might efforts to intervene in forced marriage and domestic abuse. Without further research it is not possible to say whether the underlying incidence of child abduction and kidnapping is increasing.
  • There is enormous variation between regions and police forces in the number, and rate, of child abduction and kidnapping offences. A relatively small number of police forces have recorded a large proportion of the increase in offences.

 

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taken front coverThe report offers the most comprehensive account ever undertaken of child abduction in the UK. Data on 675 offences of child abduction and child kidnapping were collected from most UK police forces. Together with previous literature these were analysed to produce a new typology of child abduction, including international parental child abduction, abduction from care, stranger abduction, and abduction arising from familial abuse, revenge, domestic violence, sexual exploitation and financial gain.

Taken also explores the current police and practice issues on child abduction and areas for further research.

 

 

 

PACT beyond stranger danger book cover webThe study sought to establish what type of safety information is available to children; who delivers and/or produces it; and what are the themes and issued raised.

Thirty years ago, simple ‘stranger danger’ messages were common-place.  They even attracted government endorsement. This research examined whether such an approach still has its place in the modern era.

The study finds that the traditional ‘stranger danger’ approach does little to keep children safe because:

  • Even older children can struggle to tell a stranger from a non-stranger
  • Strangers will help children (for example if they are lost or feel unsafe) more often than they will harm them
  • Most abductions are committed by people who are known to children.

Beyond Stranger Danger calls for new safety materials to be developed, tested and made widely available to help teachers and parents talk to children about stranger child abduction.

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child abduction longAuthor: Professor Marilyn Freeman
Published: International Centre for Family Law, Policy and Practice
This small-scale qualitative study was undertaken to investigate the lived experiences of those who were abducted many years earlier. The study found that a high proportion of the participants reported suffering very significant effects from their abductions in terms of their mental health, and that these effects were ongoing into their adult lives very many years after the abduction. The study concludes that, as the effects of abducted can be seriously negative and long-lasting, more must be done to protect children against abduction and its effects. Recommendations are made relating to the prevention of abduction, reunification when abduction occurs, and support for abducted children and their families including where the abducted child is not found, or is not returned to the State of habitual residence, as well as when the child is reunified with the left-behind family.

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PACT beyond stranger danger book cover webIn 2014 Parents and Abducted Children Together (PACT) sent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to each police force in the UK. The FOI requests asked forces to provide the number of parental child abductions, non-parental child abductions and child kidnappings recorded in 2012/13 and 2013/14.

This statistical paper reports the key findings:

  • Overall, child abduction and child kidnapping offences increased by 13 per cent from 2012/13 to 2013/14, to a total of nearly 900 offences across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Non-parental child abductions increased at more than twice the rate of parental child abductions (14 per cent compared to 6 per cent).
  • Child kidnappings increased at an even higher rate of 18 per cent over the two year period.
  • Whilst increases in this type of offence are clearly alarming, the explanation for their increase may – at least in part – lie in changes to police crime-recording practices.
  • There is enormous variation between regions and police forces in the number, and rate, of child abduction and kidnapping offences. Whilst the large city police forces all recorded higher rates of child abduction and kidnapping offences than the national average, some smaller forces recorded even larger increases.

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