20171017 Child Abductions by Parents in Europe

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Child Abductions by Parents in Europe

Two Danish children were this week returned from Brazil to Denmark after 1½ year of Child Abduction by the Danish mother. European Fathers is against Parental Child Abductions by fathers and mothers, because it puts the children and many other children at risk. 

One thing is the international child abductions by parents that are officially registered. However, another thing is the perceived child abductions by parents, where one parent has single custody and leaves the country or the widespread cases, where a parent takes the children and try to keep the children away from the other parent doing a divorce. This is today an International challenge in most countries.

How common is it?

In Denmark alone there was 29 parental child abductions to Denmark offically registered and 48 parental children abducted from Denmark to the convention countries (Scandinavia, Europe or Hague convention countries) and 57 children abducted from Denmark outside of the convention countries.

In addition, there are many more cases in Europe in general in the different EU countries. In each country there are also many perceived parental child abduction by parents having single custody or parents hiding children doing the divorce nationally. This is one of the hardest issues to handle by any parent left behind and it has major and devastating consequences for the children in their life’s.

Traditionally the belief has been that such cases was the related to violence against woman. However, that is not at all the situation today in Europe and internationally. Parental Alienation and violence against children and fathers is maybe today even more the norm. Surveys made by Danish Save The Children today illustrates that more mothers than fathers are violent towards children in the families.

The Parents who abduct their children will be found in the future

Abducted children by parents are expected to be found much more easily in the future due to increased international cooperation and the technological development. Of course, the children know what is going on and the children can forever lose confidence and respect for adults. It is in every way a fierce, devastating and expensive experience for the father, mother and children.

There is usually a simple explanation in most parental child abduction cases, often found in the parents’ social heritage, a lost court case, culture, the desire for residence and social benefits, violence or neglets towards the child or violence or neglts in the parents own childhood. Parental alienation and false accusations by parents is normal in most countries and vulnerable parents in some situations, come into contact with the wrong people and networks that systematically arrange child abductions. This most be stopped.

What can we do about it?

We can never as society accept children to be abducted by any parent, whether that being the father or the mother. Rewarding wrong behavior simply leads to wrong behavior for other parents. That is known by all good leaders and parents. It is therefore important that the police and central authorities act quickly and efficiently in these cases and bring the children and parents back to the home country as soon as possible.

If both parents and the child have citizenship and the last registered residence “habitual” in the home country, the children cases of course must be handled in the country og habitual residence of the child. That is all about focus, coordination, will and resources by the authorities in most countries – not always just about international law.

National Danish Television followed the two fathers who tried to find their children for 1½ year. The two fathers had to find the two abducted children, having the same mother, in Brazil themselves. They went to Brazil and hired a private investigator who together with the media – easily found the children after nothing had happened by the central authorities other than delayed legal procedures.

Most parents cannot afford to pay for this themselves to fint and bring the children home. It is required that the authorities not only handle legal procedures, but that there also is sent a local policeman by the country of habitual residence for coordination by local police. Something that does not normally happen in international child abduction cases by parents.

In Denmark a woman network is known to assist in child abductions and the mother together with another mother tried to seek asylum in Brazil from Denmark entering the country on yet another Danish child’s passport. Keeping the two children away from their fathers as long time as possible.

For the children that has returned home, there is now a need to rebuild the confidence of the adults. They must be ensured peace, security and stability in addition to the fact that the authorities have to ensure the children’s physical safety in a reasonable manner and to continue to negotiate with foreign authorities in relation to appeals. Parents and the children live in constant fear that it will happen again.

The children can lose confidence of adults

As a parent you should be aware that it may mean losing the confidence of your child and respect when the child discover what has happened and the truth. Children are cleverer than most parents think. It is always best to have a reasonable relationship with each other as parents, unless there are very profound reasons for anything else and in many situations today their is not between the parents.

The best interest of the child is to have the father and mother in there lives acting responsibly and together. We must never accept child abductions – registered or the many not registered – in our society. We are today living with gender equality in education, work and family life. That is a challenge, but most never involve the children.


Platform for European Fathers (PEF) is a cross-national non-governmental organization (NGO), based in Brussels, Belgium, as a federation of national organizations, who have been co-operating on equal parenting, involved fatherhood, father inclusive policies, gender equality and men’s and fathers’ civil rights across European borders.

PEF is a transparent and supportive network, aimed at giving a voice to member organizations at the European policy level, monitoring EU family legislation and social, economic and health policies for children and their fathers. It can be characterized as a vehicle to facilitate equality of parenting for fathers and mothers, to promote shared parenting, involved fatherhood and fathers inclusive politicies to all 27 EU countries. While aiming at European level PEF is also sensitive to the needs of each member country. PEF facilitates a cross border helpline for parents.

Media contact: news@europeanfathers.eu

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