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UK Govt warns fathers about child abduction risk

Filed under: General — MurrayBacon @ 8:48 pm Tue 26th July 2011

UK Government warns fathers about child abduction risk

The UK Government is honestly warning UK fathers to watch out for any warning signs that the mother of their children might abduct them. Traditionally, the FINGER was publicly pointed at fathers, despite years of statistical data showing mothers were the culprits in the majority of cases!!…… Being practical, many abductors give very little warning at all. Even when fathers ask caughts to protect their child’s relationship with themself, the caughts override the father’s concerns and allow completely unprotected international travel. They actually scrape more money from abductions, than by saving children from this crime!

The Fatherhood Institute
30 June 2011

Dads warned to look out for signs of parental child abduction

Dads are being advised on how to prevent their children’s mothers abducting
them and taking them abroad.

According to a new Government campaign, every other day a British child is
abducted by a parent to a country which has not signed the 1980 Hague
Convention on international parental child abduction*.

The latest figures represent a ten per cent increase in new cases handled
by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2010/2011 and have been released
to mark the launch of the FCO’s child abduction prevention campaign.

Evidence shows that many cases occur around school holidays when a parent
refuses to return a child following a visit to the parent’s home country.
In most cases these abductions are perpetrated by mothers.

Last year the FCO handled cases in 97 “non Hague” countries** ranging from
Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. These are countries which have not signed up to
the 1980 Hague convention on international parental child abduction and
with whom negotiating the return of children to the UK can be extremely
complex as there are no international agreements on returning children.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Jeremy Browne said the campaign
will help people become more aware of what they could do if they think
their child may be at risk.

“We are very concerned that we continue to see an increase in the number of
cases of international parental child abduction. The latest figures suggest
the problem affects people from all walks of life and not just certain
types of families or particular countries. Finding a solution can be
especially difficult if a child has been taken to a non-Hague country as
there are no international systems in place to help you. This is why
prevention is so important. The FCO will do whatever we can to provide
advice and support but our role is limited, not least because we cannot
interfere in the laws of another country.”

Sharon Cooke, Advice Line Manager for Reunite International Child Abduction
Centre, welcomed the latest advice and said while sometimes there were no
warning signs, there are things people could look for which may indicate
their child was at risk.

“The most obvious warning sign is a break down in a relationship but other
signs may include a sudden interest in getting a passport or copy birth
certificate for the child; a parent expressing a wish to holiday alone with
the child; a change in circumstances such as leaving employment or
redundancy, selling a house or giving up tenancy. There may also be a
sudden change in contact arrangements or constant difficulty in being able
to see the child,” she said.

“For many people the issue of parental child abduction is something with
which they may not have had direct personal contact. There’s often a
perception – fuelled by a number of high profile cases – that it’s about
fathers abducting their children, however statistics show it is mainly
mothers – either intentionally or unintentionally.

Sharon says, “The latest figures show just how widespread this problem has
become. Our statistics for January to May 2011 show a 21% increase in the
number of abductions to non-Hague States states compared to the same period
last year. We have also seen a 21% per cent increase in the number of
parents requesting advice on prevention of abduction. This demonstrates
there is a need for information on preventative steps that a parent can
take and it is essential that we continue to raise awareness of parental
child abduction, after all it could happen to anyone.”

“The psychological impact on children can be traumatic and for the
left-behind parent, the shock and loss are unbearable, particularly if they
don’t know where their child is. Even after they have been found, the fear
and pain of not knowing if they will return home is unimaginable.”

If you are worried your child might be at risk, or if your child has been
abducted you can call the Child Abduction Section at the Foreign Office on
0207 008 0878 or or reunite on 0116 2556 234.

* The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child
Abduction is a multi-lateral international treaty the aim of which is the
return of a child who has been wrongfully removed or wrongfully retained
away from the country where he or she normally lives, so that issues of
residence (which parent a child should live with), relocation (which
country a child should live in) and contact (access) can be decided by the
courts of that country. All cases that come under the Hague Convention are
dealt with by one of the three Central Authorities in the UK (the
International Child Abduction and Contact Unit covers England and Wales and
there are two separate bodies for Scotland and Northern Ireland). To find
out which countries are part of this Convention, visit

** Top 5 non-Hague countries with the largest number of new parental child
abductions in 2010/11

Country 2009/2010 2010/2011

All non-Hague countries 146 161

Pakistan 24 21

Thailand 13 13

India 14 9

Algeria 0 9

Malaysia 6 7

Further information on parental child abduction can be found at:
The link above does not work from NZ, as some UK Government websites refuse to serve overseas readers, possibly as a cost saving measure.

Previous posts on similar theme:


Lets Prosecute Child Abductors?


  1. This article does not equate “abduction” with “snatching”, but it should. “Abduction” is when the mother takes the children out of the country and prevents the father from seeing them. But “snatching” is just as bad – when the mother takes the children and files a restraining order against the father and prevents him from seeing the children while she and her boy-friend collect child support, using the legal system to defraud the father, instead of using international boundaries as an obstacle to the father seeing the children, the mother is using the legal system. There isn’t any practical difference.

    Comment by Darryl X — Sun 31st July 2011 @ 3:53 am

  2. Thank you for your comment. I agree strongly. In the Lets Prosecute Child Abductors, see item 72, I make the following comment:

    Please ask your local politicians what they are doing to protect our children from abduction, internationally and also from the matrimonial home?

    This is the single item which results in the most familycaught abuse of all.

    Thanks, MurrayBacon – axe murderer.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Mon 1st August 2011 @ 1:43 pm

  3. Microchipping

    is the only workable way to protect children from parental abduction. (The first child abduction prevented would pay for all of the equipment needed. But legal workers wouldn’t get rich from stopping abductions!)

    A little protection from parental abduction can be obtained using Non Removal Orders and CAPPS listings (so that leaving children will be detected and stopped from leaving at outgoing passport control).

    If a parent obtains a passport for the child, from a foreign government, in a slightly different name, then the child can be easily whisked through passport control and be illegally removed. Once out of NZ, then the chances of return become slim and prohibitively expensive. These costs are dropped onto the honest non-abducting parent, usually the father! This passport could be genuine, possibly obtained through fraud or corruption, or might be a fake passport. The end result is the same.

    The only effective way of protecting children from removal, is microchipping. At a cost under $100, this is much more effective than CAPPs listings in the NZ name only. Passport Control would be given microchip readers. Then, even if a child is presented with a passport in a different name, the illegal removal attempt will be detected and can be stopped.

    Critics of this proposal have pointed out that some parents might attempt to remove the microchip themselves, thus risking the child’s health. This can be countered, by embedding the microchip in such a way, that any attempt to remove would hazard the child’s life. Even that might not deter some abducting parents, although not many would-be abductors would go that far????

    A lesser degree of protection of children from abduction could be cheaply and safely obtained by informing parents (fathers in particular as they are at highest risk of being the left behind parent) about the moderately high risks that they face. Honest information would go a long way to reducing abduction risks.

    On the contrary, I have heard judges discussing abduction risks in familycaught$ and the information that they offered was misleading, in fact dangerous to children’s welfare (also highly profitable for legal workers if an abduction later occurred).

    Of course, if one or both parents have significant social or work connections to other countries, then the abduction risk is increased by about x10. This fact is regularly denied by NZ judges. Parents in this situation need to face the horrifying fact that on separation, their children face over 0.5% risk of being internationally abducted within 5 years. Given how serious the consequences are for the children, this reality of the familycaught$ is criminal. familycaught$ judges present mother abductions as being inconsequential for the children. Careful, professional quality research shows that attitude to be wrong. Any competent parent would know that intuitively.

    The fact that the majority of parental abductions are perpetrated by the mother, is another fact regularly denied by NZ familycaught$ judges. This denial dramatically increases the risks of abduction and child maltreatment, faced by the children, by denying the child sensible protection from abduction.

    Microchip your children – your local vet can do it!
    Passport Control need readers.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Wed 1st January 2014 @ 8:44 am

  4. UK Guardian: My partner abducted my child: the parents left behind

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Thu 6th February 2014 @ 7:19 am

  5. The book Taken in Contempt gives several stories which show the horrific realities of child abduction. Purchase this book.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Thu 6th February 2014 @ 8:15 am

  6. At least a Government is trying to reduce child abduction!!!!!!

    In a bid to curb child abduction, the South African government has introduced some controversial new document requirements with regard to children travelling in and out of SA. But will all the hassle prove worthwhile or will it chase away tourists??

    The South African government has introduced new travel regulations as part of its new Immigration Act, which are designed to combat child trafficking but are effectively discouraging family travel into the country.

    The new law will require parents and legal guardians of any nationality arriving in and departing from South Africa to produce unabridged birth certificates (in addition to passports) for the children they are travelling with. Coming into effect straight away, as issued in the Government Gazette on 26th May 2014, the new regulation holds many more caveats than just having to present an additional document at a port of entry.

    For one thing, it is assumed that the birth certificates will need to be in English or will otherwise have to be accompanied by notarised translations; however, while almost all countries feature English translations on birth certificates, this may not be true in all territories.

    But the new travel requirements are further complicated in cases where children are only accompanied by one parent or legal guardian, in which event an affidavit from the other parent or a copy of a court order stating sole custody would also be required – on top of the unabridged birth certificate. Any of these affidavits would have to be notarised, which will involve further costs. In the case of a deceased parent, a copy of the death certificate of the other parent will need to be presented instead.

    In general terms, it would appear that cases with just one parent present in a child’s life will bear the brunt of the new law, making the lives of single parents more difficult than those of intact, nuclear families. It is entirely uncertain how families with uncommon lifestyles, such as members of the LGBT community or surrogates might be treated under the enforcement of the new regulation, but it is expected that more likely than not, further difficulty might be ahead.

    But you don’t need to have a “modern family” to end up in a bureaucratic quagmire under the new guidelines. If a child is accompanied by anyone other than a parent or a legal guardian, affidavits from both parents or legal guardians will have to be presented at immigration, allowing the child to travel with that specified person. This requirement is in addition to full copies of the parents’ or legal guardians’ ID documents as well as detailed information about where the child will be staying upon arrival, including copies of ID documents of the individuals with whom the child will be staying at his or her destination.

    The theoretical absurdity of the new regulation can easily be shown in the case of a single parent sending his or her child away with a close relative to spend the holidays with the grandparents in South Africa. In addition to his or her passport, the child would have to present an unabridged birth certificate, a document either stating consent from the other parent or proving sole custody (or a death certificate pertaining to the other parent – whichever is applicable), an affidavit from each parent allowing the child to travel in the company of said relative (possibly another two documents), full copies of the parents’ IDs and full copies of the relatives’ IDs who the child will be visiting in South Africa. This could mean up to eight documents required to be presented at immigration – plus a passport.

    While the birth certificate and copies of ID documents are likely to feature English wording in almost all countries, some documents, such as a death certificate or sole custody certificate may not be issued in English in certain territories, subsequently requiring notarised translations, which will only result in further documentation required and additional costs involved. In some scenarios, children might have to travel with more than ten documents in total per child just to get in and out of SA – regardless of nationality or purpose of the stay.
    JP Breytenbach of Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants says the overall benefit of the new regulation does outweigh its disadvantages:

    “While the new regulations will probably be an inconvenience for many persons, Breytenbachs feels that in the light of the reality of child trafficking and kidnapping it is a necessary, prudent approach. It might be an inconvenience to some parents but it serves to protect their children after all.”


    I (mcb) suggest that NZ citizens lobby our Government to introduce as good checks on travel documents, to try to reduce our terrible abduction of children.

    The huge amount of legal expenditure saved, could be spent on children’s health and achieve something really good in our society!

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Tue 12th May 2015 @ 4:27 pm

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