Child Focus: "We fear that there will be a peak in cases of international child abductions”

The organisation for missing and abused children Child Focus fears that the number of children that are abducted and taken abroad by one of their parents will rise significantly in the coming weeks. The organisation’s concerns are aired in an article in the Sunday free sheet ‘De Zondag’. The reopening of the borders from 15 June could act as a trigger, not least as the lockdown period has led to an increase in tension and conflict within families.  

Since 11 March all non-essential foreign travel has been banned. This will change on 15 June when the borders will reopen. While this has many advantages and will make live a lot easier for many of us, it could also have a downside. Child Focus fears that it could lead to a surge in the number of parents taking their children out of the country without their (ex) partner’s consent? 

Hilde Demarré of Child Focus told ‘De Zondag’ that “During the lockdown the number child abductions fell by half. This isn’t surprising as the closed borders mean that it is much more difficult to take your child abroad with you”. 

"You hear everywhere that the number of couples splitting up will probably rise after lockdown. This will also have an impact on the number of international child abductions”, Ms Demarré added. 

Parents that leave the country with their children and stay their often do so because they want to move after having got divorced or because they want to return to their family. But they are often nota ware that what they are doing is in fact international child abduction. 

 "You are not allowed to leave the country with your children unless you have the permission of the other parent. It is essential that arrangement are made in advance"


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