Managing the kidnapping

Although it might feel difficult, try to stay calm.

Some kidnappings are over in days or weeks, but some last longer. While your loved one is being held, you will be in contact with lots of new people, you will receive and seek out a considerable amount of information, and all while you are suffering the impacts of what you are going through, such as poor sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, and acute worry and distress.

One of your key roles is to keep track of everything that you see, hear and do. It can be really helpful to do this from day one.

Liaising with the government and private security companies

You will likely be in touch with the US government, and might end up meeting representatives from many different government departments and agencies. This might include the FBI, the State Department, the Department of Justice and the National Security Council.

You might also be in touch with your loved one’s employer if they were kidnapped while working overseas. They might have employed a private security company to work alongside the government to help secure their release. You might have contact with these organizations, too.

You can ask your point of contact within the government, private security company or employer to prepare a list of people and organizations for you to help you understand who you are in contact with and what their role is. When you have questions or requests, it can be beneficial to put them in writing so you and they have a clear record of your communication. Hostage US can help you to prepare for your meetings with these government and non-government organizations and offer guidance on how best to organize your information.

Keeping records

You are likely to receive a lot of information from those handling the kidnapping related to what they are doing and relevant developments in the country or region where your loved one is being held. You might also be doing your own research into the country or region, the group suspected of holding your loved one, and the experiences of others who have been kidnapped in the same area. You might also take notes in your meetings and calls with the government, private security companies and others.

It is possible that you will become overwhelmed with the amount of information you have.

It is sensible to start a notebook on day one and keep all information, papers, websites and resources together in one place. Make sure you date your meeting notes. It will then be much easier to sort the information at a later date.

Sources of information about the country, group responsible

Some families wish to learn more about where their loved one is being held, the group suspected of holding them, and the wider political and criminal factors at play. You might have questions about why this has happened, why your loved one, why now, and for what purpose. This is understandable. The government can help you to access their experts on the group or region. Hostage US can also help you to find people who can offer information to help you answer these questions, such as academics.