Apr 14, 2017

Are Parental Abductions Missing Persons Cases?

The point at which to move from concern to action really is a critical question. In our experience, many clients take too long to come to us for assistance in tracing a lost one. The National Missing Persons Coordination Centre defines a missing person as “Anyone reported missing to police, whose whereabouts are unknown, and there are fears for the safety or concern for the welfare of that person.”

 

This narrow description restricts the definition of missing persons to people on a police list who may currently be in some form of danger. As we have said so many times before, people have a right to move out of their current circle and seek a new life. This is not a crime, although often it may be a cry for help. Before reporting a case, we should first ask ourselves this question. “Am I doing this because my loved one is genuinely in trouble, or just because I want them back?’

The Point at Which We Need to Start Doing Something

The answer depends on the extent to which the person can function independently and attend to their needs. We need worry less about a healthy adult, than a young child or an elderly family member. The background also plays a role. If the healthy adult has a chronic medical condition or is a key witness in a court case, then their disappearance may need pressing attention.

How Does Parental Abduction Fit Into This?

The answer is, with difficulty. Abduction by a parent needs a different approach, especially when we know where the missing child is. They may be at no immediate risk at all. Parent abductors generally take good care of their offspring because they hope to win custody at a family court.

Such cases are not officially a matter of concern for the police. In the first instance, their whereabouts are not secret. In the second, there is no compelling reason to fear for their welfare or safety. By their own definition, these young missing persons are outside police jurisdiction.

What to Do While Waiting for a Family Court Decision

We suggest you ask an agency such as ours to implement a discreet surveillance program. We can observe the abductor at a distance and shadow their movements. When we see the child, we should immediately know if they are in trouble. A few date-stamped videos or photos by a QLD Covert Investigations agent may be all you need to convince the police to intervene. Please phone 1300 553 788 now if you need support.

 

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