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Keeping children safe

Parental child abduction

Parental child abduction is when a parent or relative, or someone acting on their behalf, removes a child from approved custody or violates their custody agreement.

Parental child abduction is a criminal offence. If you believe that your child has been or is at risk of being abducted or, if your child has been taken overseas without your consent, call the police immediately.

If your child is taken abroad, the Hague Convention states that the country the child is taken to must respect the custody decision of the country of origin. This principle is upheld by all countries that have ratified the convention, including the UK. If you think your child has been taken to a country outside the Hague Convention, then there are official channels within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Getting help

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) child abduction unit can be contacted on 020 7008 0878, Monday to Friday (09:30 to 17:00), or another member of consular staff out of hours on 020 7008 1500.

The Ministry of Justice International Child Abduction and Contact Unit offers guidance on the action to take if you think your child is at risk of abduction and a list of specialist solicitors. They can be contacted on 020 7911 7127, Monday to Friday (09:00 to 17:00).

Action Against Abduction offers interactive advice on what parents or carers should do if their children have been abducted or fear that they will be abducted.

Reunite is the leading UK charity specialising in parental child abduction and the movement of children across international borders.