Rise in cross border disputes over children abducted by parents
There has been a large increase in the number of children abducted by their parents and taken to or from the UK following the breakdown of relationships.
Figures released in the annual report by the Office for International Family Justice for England and Wales show that there were only three such cases in 2007. The figure rose to 65 in 2008 and then to 253 in 2012. The report says the increase is partly due to the “ever-increasing number of international family cases coming before the courts”.
It says: “The increased movement of persons from all backgrounds, brought on by globalisation, has undoubtedly led to an increasing number of family law cases with an international dimension.”
It is quite common for couples to move to another country as part of their work. If the relationship breaks down, one partner may want to stay living abroad while the other wants to return home. This can create enormous difficulties if children are involved. In some extreme circumstances, some parents resort to abducting their children.
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction provides a framework for resolving these disputes. It is an international treaty recognised by more than 80 countries. It’s designed to protect children from abduction and to secure their quick return to the country the courts decide is most suitable for them.