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International Parental Child Abduction

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued a reminder of the ongoing issue of international parental child abduction and the support than can be available to those affected. 

International child abduction is when one parent takes or keeps their child outside the country in which the child usually lives, without the permission of the other parent. Many parents don’t realise this could be classified as abduction and that they may be committing a criminal offence and could face a prison sentence.

In 2016/17, the FCO apparently provided assistance in 449 new child custody and international parental child abduction cases and so far in 2017/18 the FCO has dealt with 301 new cases.

Alison Shalaby, CEO of Reunite, a charity that specialises in parental child abduction and the movement of children across international borders, said:

“International parental child abduction can cause great distress to a child who is removed from their home country and taken away from one parent, their extended family and friends, and everything that is familiar to them. This can cause long lasting harm to a child’s wellbeing and is something that may continue to affect them well into adulthood.

“Saying that, there is almost always the possibility that such cases can be resolved positively for all involved, especially the children. We would urge parents to seek help and support as through co-operation, mediation or swift court action, many children do return home and are able to continue to have a meaningful relationship with both parents.”

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For expert legal advice on these issues, or other matters involving children, then contact our specialist family lawyers today.


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