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Most cases of parental abduction resolved within a week

Dec 03 2011

Between 200 and 300 children are abducted by a parent every year in Canada, according to the National Centre for Missing Children.

The vast majority of those cases are resolved within a week, with the parent either being found soon after or the parent returning voluntarily with the child.

The cases like that of Joe Chisholm and daughter Sigourney are relatively rare, said Christy Dzikowicz, director of missing children's services at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

She hopes the media attention given it will help other missing child cases that have been unsolved for years.

"Every province has one and for those parents, it is always there. But they always have hope. We see it with all our families. Without fail, they all have absolute hope they will find their children."

Victoria police Det. Roger de Pass said he wants the Chisholm case to give hope to other parents.

"It's always challenging to solve older files but I think this investigation is a reminder to all families of missing children that there are still detectives working these files and they're not giving up," de Pass said.

Parental abductions are far more common than stranger abductions. There are about 50 child abductions by strangers a year, said the missing children's centre.

Reasons for parental abduction vary, but often it is done by the parent who feels they have not been treated fairly in a custody dispute or feels misrepresented in court. Indeed, custody battles can see every negative comment ever made between a couple magnified into enormous character flaws.

Sometimes a child is abducted because the parent fears for the child's safety.

Parental abduction is a criminal offence.

An RCMP study found:

• the mother and father are equally likely to abduct their child

• mothers tend to do so after a court order while fathers tend to abduct the child before the court order is made

• most abducted children are young, younger than seven years

• male and female children are equally likely to be abducted

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