Monday, August 10, 2009

UK Child Abduction By Estranged Parents On The Rise

Almost 500 children were abducted from the UK and taken abroad illegally last year, according to figures released to the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act. There were 336 cases of child abduction reported to authorities in the UK in 2008, an increase of 20% on 2005 figures. These cases involved an estimated 470 children last year. More children were taken illegally to Pakistan than any other country (30 cases in 2008), followed by the USA (23), Ireland (22) and Spain (21). Other abduction hotspots included Australia, France and Egypt.

Abductions usually occur when marriages break down between couples of different nationalities, and the parent who is not awarded custody kidnaps their children. Now is peak abduction season, as children are taken abroad during the school summer holidays and not returned.

Usually, the cases aren't publicised as they are dealt with in the family courts where reporting restrictions apply to any cases involving the welfare of minors. But they are becoming increasingly common – when the Guardian spent a day in a family court in London recently, eight out of 14 cases heard involved child abduction.

The government has little power to intervene in around 40% of all abduction cases, as they involve children being taken to countries not signed up to the Hague convention, an international treaty which obliges nations to promptly return children wrongfully retained in their jurisdiction. Experts say it is often almost impossible for mothers to get back children taken by their fathers to Islamic countries with sharia law, such as Saudi Arabia, which prioritise male parental rights.

"500 children a year abducted from UK", Guardian, 8/9/09.



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I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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