Almost ten new child abduction and custody cases a week reaching the Foreign Office

Children|Divorce|May 28th 2013

Mark SimmondsThe Foreign Office is dealing with nearly ten child abduction and custody cases a week, the Department has reported.

Government officials were involved in 512 new cases during the year to 2012, the department reports – an increase of 81 per cent in the last nine years. More than half are new cases. Including existing cases, the average number of phone calls relating to this “growing problem” has now reached four per day.

However, many cases go unreported, the department believes, and the number could be much higher “…as parents seek custody of their children through foreign courts or through private family mediation.”

The figures were released to mark International Missing Children’s Day. Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds said:

“Children go missing in a wide range of circumstances and in all cases we are eager to find them and return them to their homes and families. This includes when children are abducted overseas by one of their own parents. These missing children are often overlooked but we must remember that parental child abduction also has a devastating impact on children, destroying their relationship with both parents and isolating them from their home.”

He added:

“In 2003/4 the FCO worked on cases in 51 countries; that figure has now risen to 84. This shows just how widespread the problem has become, affecting people from all parts of the world. We will continue to do all we can to provide advice and support to families dealing with international parental child abduction. But these cases are extremely difficult to resolve and the reality is that whilst help is available, parental child abduction cases can take years to resolve.”

 Photo of Mark Simmonds by Foreign and Commonwealth Office via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Author: Stowe Family Law

Comments(4)

  1. Graham Perry says:

    This is a very serious problem concerning all types of child abductions. There is still the ongoing case of Madeleine McCann, thankfully Operation Grange are on the case. However, it is still a very sad fact that the Portuguese Authorities are refusing to reopen Madeleine’s case review. I actually believe Madeleine is alive and still find-able, thank you.

  2. Chavez says:

    Ironically, the government is directly responsible for child abduction by not legislating on a fairer system that treats both parents equally, and by allowing a highly adversarial system to proceed unchallenged. They introduce mediation to give the public impression that things have improved, but everyone who has tried this knows thy it is a scam because the balance of power is rigged.

  3. michelle jatta says:

    the fco to me is all just for show, i beleive it is pu in place in order to help the governement look better, i will be attending reunites open day on 15th june where i will try to stress my concerns to them i asked for their help on numerous times i even got my mp involved and i got a response that they could help i would like to note that if your child is abducted to a non hague convention country they will do nothing at all. the fco and british embassy put my self in danger as i had to go collect my children from egypt alone with no support and no help, i did not speak the language, i even had my own health problems and i did encounter alot of problems and again they did not help it annoys me when they say they do all they can our govenment could change the abduction rates if they did checks on leaving the country but as a representative on behalf of theresa may said back in 1998 they decided after long investigation to stop the outgoing checks if checks are done on the way out a lot of childrens lifes would be saved, abduction is child abuse

  4. Observer says:

    Well, I can assure you that this is not the case, as being a man and therefore subject to discrimination in everything where children are concerned, it is nothing short of an interrogation leaving even for Europe which is signed up to the Hague.

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