In this weeks post, we have gone for a change in direction as we tackle the sensitive subject of parental child abduction.
Child abduction (parental), the CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) has reported the rather startling fact that in total over 140,000 missing children every year. This equates to one child every 3 minutes. 580 of these cases were described as parental child abduction.
So what is parental child abduction?
It is what it says on the tin. When a family breaks down and one parent has custody of the children, the other parent should only take the children at the designated times, whether that’s by Court ordered visitation or an amicable agreement reached with or without the aid of a mediator. Within the countries bound by the Hague Convention, it is expected that the Court order issued by the original country of residence will be upheld. In very rare cases a parent may just up and leave the family home with the children without warning, this tends to be referred to as desertion rather than abduction.
Alison Shalaby from Reunite suggests in an article in the London Evening Standard that if you have suspicions that your partner may be thinking about taking your children, you should raise those concerns because they helped to prevent 412 cases of parental child abduction.
Top 3 parental child abduction facts:
- Reports indicate that 70% of these types of abduction are carried out by women who are usually the mother of the child/children involved.
- Within the Hague Convention member countries America with 32 cases in 2012/13 is the most popular destination for the abductors. Following close behind is Poland who had 29 cases and there were 28 cases in Ireland.
- Pakistan, which has not signed up to the Hague Convention had the most cases, although not by much, a mere 3 more cases than America. The next two countries that had not signed up however are quite a way behind as Thailand had 17 cases and India had 16 cases.
If child abduction happens to you, here are some things that you should do:
- Contact the police. Explain why you think your children have been taken.
- It may be worth hiring an experienced private investigator because history shows that if a child is actually taken outside of the UK it can be very costly and a lengthy process to retrieve them.
- Contact a support group such as Missing Kids UK, The Custody Minefield, Reunite and Gingerbread. There are lots of other organisations out there and many offer free advice.
If you find yourself in this awful situation our thoughts are with you and you can be sure that all of us here at Alpha 1 Legal Services will do all that we can to help.