In figures released by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in December 2013, the number of child abduction cases has doubled in the last 10 years, with on average two children being abducted abroad each day. The reasons are various but involve the increasing numbers of marriages involving people from different countries and cultures and the changes in working lifestyles whereby more parents work and live abroad for periods of time or even permanently.
It may be a surprise to the public, but over 70% of abductions are by the mother, with children being taken to countries as diverse as Poland, Thailand and Pakistan.
The Reunite International Child Abduction Centre is the leading UK charity specialising in the movement of children across international borders. During the last year they successfully prevented 412 cases of child abduction involving 586 children. They can assist in supporting parents in resolving differences and avoiding abduction in the first place.
Urgent action is required if there is the potential for an abduction, as an alert can be raised which can effectively close down ports and airports for a parent and child. If a child is taken abroad, then an application under the Hague Convention can secure a child’s return, providing the receiving country is a signatory.
For more information on child abduction and other family law issues, please contact a member of our family team on 01625 442100.