Child abduction has become a more common problem in recent years than most of us would like to believe. There have been various high profile cases of child abduction reported in the media and it is fair to assume that anyone watching a TV appeal by a parent pleading for help in finding their child would find it heartbreaking.
However, the majority of child abduction cases within the UK do not involve strangers.
Children, who are caught up in the relationship disputes of their parents, are often removed from their country of residence to another country by one parent without the consent of the other. Few cases of this nature make the news however figures have revealed that the number of parental child abduction cases dealt with by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office has risen by 88% in just under a decade.
The reality is that parental child abduction is an issue which has been addressed by on an international level. The 1980 ‘Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction’ is an agreement between various countries which aims to ensure the return of an abducted child to the country where he or she normally lives, so that issues of residence (custody) and contact (access) can be decided by the Courts of that country.
It is important for any parent to be aware of their rights under The Hague Convention and the legal proceedings they can issue to ensure the return of their child should the unthinkable happen.
You must seek legal advice from a family law solicitor as soon as possible if you are worried that:
- Your child has been abducted from overseas to Northern Ireland
- Your child has been abducted from Northern Ireland and taken abroad
- You are being accused of abducting your child.