Sharp increase in the number of children parentally abducted

Year Published: 2012

Latest figures released by reunite International Child Abduction Centre reveal a 47 per cent increase in the number of child abduction cases reported to their advice line.

The figures show that in 2011 reunite handled 512 new abduction cases. This was made up of 479 children abducted out of the UK, 189 children abducted into the UK, 16 children abducted between UK jurisdictions, and 56 children abducted between non-UK jurisdictions. It has been revealed that the mother was the abducting parent in 70% of the cases reported to reunite.

It is concerning that there has been such a drastic rise in the number of children abducted. The figures do not, however, reveal the true extent of the problem as many cases go unreported. There are a multitude of reasons why child abduction takes place; some parents abduct their children to deny the other parent contact, some out of fear for the child’s safety.

One explanation for the rise in parental abduction could be the rise in multi-cultural relationships. If the child’s parents originate from different countries their first port of call may be to return to their country of origin with the child, especially if they have a support network in that country. This can cause great practical difficulty in locating the child.

The harm caused by child abduction can be great, not only for the parent who is left behind, but for the child who is removed from their usual surroundings. The parent carrying out the abduction often does not consider the emotional effect on the child. The left behind parent has to face both the trauma of their child being abducted and then the legal process involved to try and return their child.

For further information on family law matters, please contact Shelley Chesworth in the Private Client team on 0161 475 7682.

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