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Foreign Office marks International Missing Children’s Day

Almost ten new child abduction and international custody cases a week are being dealt with by the Foreign Office, according to newly released Government figures.

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.

Speaking on 25th May, which was International Missing Children’s Day, Foreign Office Minister for consular services Mark Simmonds paid tribute to those who have suffered the trauma of a missing or abducted child.

“Today is an opportunity to raise public awareness of children who have gone missing or been abducted within the UK and overseas,” he said. “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 nine 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.”

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