Absconding is a term used to describe the act of running away or escaping from an institution, foster home or other place of care. The abbreviation ABS is often used on welfare records.
Under early legislation absconders were subject to punishment and extension of their sentence.
For example, under the Destitute Persons Act 1881 absconders could be whipped or subjected to a bread and water diet for up to seven days. Under the Maintenance Act 1926 absconding was regarded as an offence and children who absconded could be arrested without warrant by a police officer. Punishment for absconding from an institution or from a foster placement was transfer to a reformatory or the extension of a sentence if the child was already committed to a reformatory.
Sources used to compile this entry: Adoption and Family Information Service, Glossary of terms found in past files, Families SA, Department for Families and Communities, Adelaide, 16 October 2006.
Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George
Created: 27 October 2011, Last modified: 10 June 2014