Abduction can be from the UK, or into the UK. There are a number of international agreements that govern child abduction.
Things You Can Do Before a Child is Abducted
If you are have concerns about the risk of a child abduction from the UK you should immediately seek legal advice. You can also consult Reunite who have produced a very helpful Child Abduction Prevention Guide and they also provide the only UK based telephone advice line specialising in international parental child abduction and the movement of children across international borders. Call +44(0)1162556234.
Where there is a real risk of abduction the Court can make a Prohibited Steps Order, prohibiting the removal of the child from the UK, or preventing anyone applying for passports/travel documents. These orders can, where there is a real urgency, be applied for without notice to the other parent. It may also be possible to obtain an “All Ports Warning” through the Police.
Things You Can Do After a Child has been Abducted.
If a child has been abducted from the UK you should consult the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit. They are the Central Authority for the UK, and can assist you in obtaining legal advice and representation to pursue an application in the country to which your child has been abducted. You should also consult a solicitor quickly as sometimes it is possible to obtain orders in the High Court which assist in obtaining the return of your child to this country.
If a child has been abducted into the UK you should consult your Central Authority. You may be entitled to free legal representation to make an application to the High Court for return of your child to your country. If so your Central Authority will send your details to the UK Central Authority who will appoint a solicitor to represent you.
The Hague Convention
The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980 deals with abduction from the child’s country of habitual residence, or retention at the end of an agreed period outside the county of habitual residence, and with securing contact/access. In the case of abduction into or retention in the UK, the Central Authority will appoint a solicitor for you who will apply for non means tested legal aid to represent you.
Brussels II Revised applies to cases between members of the European Union except Denmark.
We Can Help
At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone", especially children who are at risk of abduction. Our expert Family Solicitors have years of experience dealing with all aspects of Family Law.
It is important to act quickly, so if your child has been abducted or retained after a visit, consult us as soon as possible. If you would like to talk in confidence to one of our team of specialist family solicitors call us today on 0203 551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback at your convenience.