Press release

Foreign Office marks International Missing Children’s Day

Almost 10 new child abduction and international custody cases a week are being dealt with by the Foreign Office.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Child Abduction

Foreign Office Minister for consular services Mark Simmonds pays tribute to those who have suffered the trauma of a missing or abducted child.

Marking International Missing Children’s Day, Mark Simmonds said:

Today is an opportunity to raise public awareness of children who have gone missing or been abducted within the UK and overseas. 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.

This is a growing problem. Over the last 9 years we have seen an 81% increase in the number of new cases. 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.

As we mark International Missing Children’s Day, we should think not just of those who are missing or abducted, but of how we can work to make sure abductions stop once and for all. No differences between parents should be worth the emotional distress of a child wrenched from his or her home.

Further information

From April 2011 to March 2012, the Foreign Office provided assistance in 512 new child abduction and international custody and access cases, an average of four calls per day, with more than half being new cases. With many cases going unreported as parents seek custody of their children through foreign courts or through private family mediation, the number could potentially be much higher.

If you are concerned about child abducted you can call the Reunite International Child Abduction Centre on 0116 2556 234

Read the government guidance on international child abduction

Read the FCO information on child abduction in certain countries

Parental child abduction case studies

Follow Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds on twitter @MarkJSimmonds

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Published 25 May 2013