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00Aug16c Some other statistics

Family Members Are Common Kidnappers

 The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - One of parents' major fears is the lurking stranger who suddenly grabs and kidnaps their child.

But a new government study released Monday shows that parents need to worry about more than stranger danger: Youngsters are more likely to be kidnapped by an acquaintance.

The most common kidnapper - listed in 49 percent of cases - is a member of the child's family, said the report ``Kidnapping of Juveniles,'' released by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs.

The next largest category was acquaintances, figuring in 27 percent of cases, followed by strangers, 24 percent. In past studies, these two have been lumped together as non-family kidnappings.

Kidnapping by acquaintances involves the largest percentage of female victims and is more often associated with sexual and other physical assault than other types of kidnappings, the study found.

These are often kidnappings by boyfriends or ex-boyfriends - 84 percent of the kidnappers were male and 30 percent were juveniles themselves.

Seventy-one percent of acquaintance-kidnapping victims were ages 12 to 17. Twenty-four percent of the acquaintance kidnappings led to a victim injury, compared with 16 percent of the stranger kidnappings and 4 percent of the family abductions.

In acquaintance kidnappings, 23 percent of female victims also suffered sexual assault, compared to 14 percent in kidnappings by strangers.

In stranger kidnappings, 95 percent of the kidnappers were males and 90 percent were adults. Robbery and assault were the crimes most commonly associated with these kidnappings.

In family kidnappings, 80 percent of the kidnappers were parents and 57 percent male. These cases rarely involved any other crime.

The victims of parent kidnappings were evenly divided between males and females, while females made up 72 percent of the victims of acquaintance kidnappings and 64 percent in the stranger kidnappings.

The report on kidnappings of people age 17 and under was done by David Finkelhor and Richard Ormrod of the University of New Hampshire based on 1997 crime statistics collected from a dozen states.

On the Net:

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs:

AP-NY-07-24-00 1559EDT


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