Child abduction law


Child abduction is defined as the kidnapping or abduction of a child (or a baby, for that matter) – i.e. taking without the appropriate consent. Child abduction law encompasses both criminal and civil law. Under the Child Abduction Act it is a criminal offence to send or take a child out of the UK with the appropriate consent.

Child abduction law provides both civil and criminal remedies for those whose child or children have been abducted.

The principal civil abduction law is the Children Act 1989 which came into force in 1991. Under this Act, a number of orders can be made by civil courts which are binding on both parents; for example, in cases where the parents have separated the court can make: 

  • Residence orders (which settles with whom the child is to live)
  • Contact orders (which deals with the contact the child is to have with the other parent and relatives)    

Child abduction law is a complex and multi-faceted area of the law. In addition to notifying the police, you should contact a solicitor as soon as possible if you fear that your child may have been abducted. A solicitor will be able to give you practical advice to prevent a possible abduction. Some practical advice they may give you might include: 

  • Notifying your child’s school that a specified person must not be allowed to collect them from school
  • In more serious cases ensuring that the child’s passport is safe and the local police station number is handy

If you would like to obtain legal advice and information on child abduction law, Caven can put you in touch with a local specialist family/ child solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local family / child solicitors please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above. 

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