ERIC Number: ED240428
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Parental Child Snatching: A Preliminary Estimate of the National Incidence.
Gelles, Richard J.
Although popular literature cites between 25,000 and 100,000 parental child snatchings a year, no empirical studies have been conducted to support this estimate. To determine an empirical estimate of the extent of parental child snatchings, telephone interviews were conducted by Louis Harris and Associates with a representative cross section of adults, 18 years of age and over, at 3,745 sampling points within the United States, between June and August of 1982. Respondents were read a definition of child snatching and were subsequently asked if they knew of an instance of parental child snatching in their family or in a family they personally knew. Respondents who answered "yes" were asked questions about the number of cases, the children involved, and how they knew of the incident. An analysis of the results showed that 273 respondents (7.3 percent) reported exposure to an incident of parental child snatching, with 55 respondents (1.5 percent) reporting personal involvement within the previous 12 months. Projecting this rate to 83.5 million households, assuming that at least two households are involved in each incident of child snatching, and allowing for a sample error of .39 percent, there are an estimated 459,000 to 751,000 incidents of child snatching each year. Given that more than two household could be personally involved, this estimate could be considered the highest possible projection, making the 100,000 popular estimate very low. This preliminary incidence survey is useful to those trying to establish the full extent of the issue as well as to researchers who wish to study further this hidden family problem. (Author/BL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of Justice, Washington, DC. National Inst. of Justice.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council on Family Relations (St. Paul, MN, October 11-15, 1983).