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years after the event of the abduction and return.33 This is confirmed by the accounts of the adults abducted as children who describe some of the effects of the abduction as “lasting”. One described him/herself having had problems at school and subsequently with violence and drinking and of being “a functioning, miserable, non-diagnosed depressive for many years”; another describes the extreme confusion and guilt that (s)he feels towards the abducting parent and the pattern of loneliness and self-harm in which (s)he has engaged and the insecurity that (s)he feels today, entirely attributable, in his/her view, to the abduction which, in his/her words, “destroys your life”. (S)he is sure that the feelings of shame and self-hate which (s)he experiences emanate from the abduction and from being torn and having to make decisions which destroy the lives of those you love.

The few positive effects of abduction on the abducted child that have been reported have centred on the way that the abduction incident, as with many traumas in life, makes the child stronger but this has been tempered, in each case, by the overwhelming description by the same interviewee of the negative effects of the abduction on the child.


The Parents:

This was considered from the perspective of the left-behind or abducting parent, depending on the relevant status of the interviewed parent, in relation to any possible effect on that parent, as well as any effects that may have occurred in the other parent, discerned either through personal observation or intellectual application by the interviewed parent.

All the parents interviewed felt that they had been affected by the abduction. Few of the interviewed parents were able,

33 See “Outcomes Report” at 8 which details the time span between the return of the child and the first interview, i.e. 60% having occurred between 1-3 years earlier, the remainder having occurred from 4-7 years before. The second interview took place between 2-3 years after the first interview. The shortest time between the return and the second interview therefore being approximately 3 years.


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