1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Abduction

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For works with similar titles, see Abduction.

ABDUCTION (Lat. abductio, abducere, to lead away), a law term denoting the forcible or fraudulent removal of a person, limited by custom to the case where a woman is the victim. In the case of men or children, it has been usual to substitute the term kidnapping (q.v.). The old English laws against abduction, generally contemplating its object as the possession of an heiress and her fortune, have been repealed by the Offences against the Person Act 1861, which makes it felony for any one from motives of lucre to take away or detain against her will, with intent to marry or carnally know her, &c., any woman of any age who has any interest in any real or personal estate, or is an heiress presumptive, or co-heiress, or presumptive next of kin to any one having such an interest; or for any one to cause such a woman to be married or carnally known by any other person; or for any one with such intent to allure, take away, or detain any such woman under the age of twenty-one, out of the possession and against the will of her parents or guardians. By s. 54, forcible taking away or detention against her will of any woman of any age with like intent is felony. The same act makes abduction without even any such intent a misdemeanour, where an unmarried girl under the age of sixteen is unlawfully taken out of the possession and against the will of her parents or guardians. In such a case the girl's consent is immaterial, nor is it a defence that the person charged reasonably believed that the girl was sixteen or over. The Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 made still more stringent provisions with reference to abduction by making the procuration or attempted procuration of any virtuous female under the age of twenty-one years a misdemeanour, as well as the abduction of any girl under eighteen years of age with the intent that she shall be carnally known, or the detaining of any female against her will on any premises, with intent to have, or that another person may have, carnal knowledge of her. In Scotland, where there is no statutory adjustment, abduction is similarly dealt with by practice.