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One of the themes which emerged through the interviews, both with parents and children, was the difficulty in trusting that they experienced after the abduction72. Adults discussed this in terms of their personal relationships, some felt completely damaged by the abduction experience which now informed all their friendships and relationships, including those with their children. Children expressed this in terms of being unable to fully trust their parents or other adults in their lives, including those acting in a professional capacity, of whom they felt suspicious and who they see as partisan. One interviewee explained that the adult might try to “use the conversation in some way so that I would have to think about everything I am saying”. This is particularly evident when there are continuing legal proceedings which, in many cases, go on through the remaining years of childhood.

The question of post-abduction contact between children and their families is one which causes concern. Where continued contact is not facilitated and encouraged between separated siblings and other separated family members it appears to result in complete misery for those involved. It also appears to lead to an undesirable ability to detach, as some of the data has revealed. This can be seen in the words of one child interviewee who does not have contact with previously close members of her family. She explains that she has learned a lot, in particular to be independent. She describes herself as being suspicious and says that she has lost a lot of people she cared about in her life and it makes her want to hold back. She does this with everyone and describes herself as having a “lack of feeling”. She says she does not care about what happens to friends or family and that she does not want to trust anyone else or have the need to have any personal connection. She says that, although at one time she did not think it was possible, she now knows that she can live

72 This is supported by the findings of Bowers and Greif, Legacy, supra, who state: “Throughout the discussions we learned these adults’ ability to trust had been fundamentally shaken by the abduction experience. They described losing trust in their parents (and sometimes family members), in their belief that their environment was safe, and in law enforcement. The loss of trust continued into their adulthood and permeates to varying degrees their relationships with their siblings, significant others, children and authority figures”.


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