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Children & Child Custody

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Raising Awareness of Child Abduction

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has recently come together with charity Reunite to help raise awareness of the issue of international parental child abduction.

The organisations’ key message is that abducting a child overseas is never the right answer and can create lasting damage to all involved. They are urging any parent considering abducting their child to think through the devastating consequences their actions can cause.

“The FCO dealt with 553 international parental abduction and child custody cases in 2013/14,” commented Hayley Griffiths, Children’s Policy Advisor at the FCO. “Together with Reunite we support and assist hundreds of families coping with the devastating effects of child abduction."

"We are calling on all parents considering taking this step to really think through the consequences – for themselves, for their family and, most importantly, for the child left caught in the middle,” she added.

Reunite has also seen a sharp rise in its caseload, as Alison Shalaby, Chief Executive of Reunite, explained:

“This year Reunite has seen a 30% increase in the number of children abducted to non-Hague Convention countries such as China, Pakistan, Somalia and Jamaica,” she said. “With no international conventions in place between the UK and these countries, parents face tremendous legal, financial and cultural barriers when seeking the return of their children.”

“Calls to our advice line have increased by 37% this year and in the last 12 months we have managed over 16,000 calls,” she added.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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