What is child abduction?
Child abduction is the removal or retention of someone aged 16 or below by someone who’s either in breach of a court order or is without the consent of the parent(s) or a person(s) who have parental responsibility for the child.
There are two forms of child abduction, which are:
1. Parental child abduction
In short, parental child abduction is when a person connected to the child has taken the child outside the UK for more than 28 days without the appropriate consent.
Consent can be written or verbal but must come from someone considered connected with the child. People the law considers connected to a child include:
- A parent of the child.
- A guardian or special guardian of the child.
- In a circumstance where the parents aren’t married or civil partners at the time of the birth, there are reasonable grounds for believing he is the child’s father.
- A person named in a child arrangement order as someone with whom the child is to live with.
- They have some form of custody of the child.
Someone only has ‘appropriate consent’ when all of the following applies:
1. You get the consent of each of the following:
- The child’s mother or father.
- Any guardian or special guardian of the child.
- Anyone named as the person the child should live within a child arrangements order.
- Any person who has custody of the child.
2. The court has approved it under part II of the Children Act 1989
3. Someone who has custody of the child will need the court’s approval from the court that awarded custody to them.
2. Stranger child abduction
Stranger child abduction is when a stranger takes your child without legal authority or a reasonable excuse. Unlike parental child abduction, this offence is child abduction regardless of whether or not the abductor takes the child out of the country.