Child abduction to countries with which Denmark cooperates under the Hague Convention of 1980

The Child Abduction Unit, which is located in the Ministry for Children and Social Affairs, is the Danish Central Authority under the Hague Convention of 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

The Child Abduction Unit receives and transmits requests for the return of children under the Convention. The Child Abduction Unit collaborates with other countries that have acceded to the Hague Convention of 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Go to a list of countries with which Denmark cooperates under the Convention


The role and assistance of the Child Abduction Unit in cases where a child has been abducted to or retained in a state with which Denmark cooperates under the Hague Convention of 1980

It is the task of the Child Abduction Unit to provide the necessary support and guidance to the left-behind parent in Denmark and to coordinate the contact between Danish and foreign authorities for the purpose of ensuring quick return of the child. Below are some examples of specific tasks performed by the Child Abduction Unit:

  • The Child Abduction Unit transmits the application for return to the foreign Central Authority. The unit assists in ensuring that all relevant information and documents to proceed with the case are present.
  • The Child Abduction Unit can offer the left-behind parent and/or his/her lawyer an initial meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to provide guidance about the Hague Convention of 1980, including on the further proceedings.
  • The Child Abduction Unit will be in ongoing contact with the foreign Central Authority to ensure progress in the case. 
  • In collaboration with the left-behind parent and/or his/her lawyer, the Child Abduction Unit can give guidelines on the possibilities of financial assistance, and the Child Abduction Unit processes the application for legal aid from the left-behind parent.
  • In cases where a child has been returned to Denmark after the child has been abducted, the Child Abduction Unit informs about the return of the child to the child's municipality of residence, so that the municipality may initiate the required help

The Child Abduction Unit follows the case until a final decision is reached, and until the return has been effected, if this was the outcome of the decision. The Child Abduction Unit closes the case when it receives a confirmation from the left-behind parent or his/her lawyer about the final outcome of the case.


Restrictions to the role of the Child Abduction Unit

  • The Child Abduction Unit cannot influence the case processing or the outcome of the child abduction case at the receiving country's authorities or courts.
  • The Child Abduction Unit cannot enforce Danish decisions abroad on i.a. parental custody.
  • The Child Abduction Unit cannot help with physically getting back the child. A decision to the effect that the child must return to Denmark can either be enforced by the parent abroad voluntarily returning to Denmark with the child, by the left-behind parent collecting the child abroad or through the foreign authorities arranging that the return is executed.
  • The Child Abduction Unit cannot represent the left-behind parent in relation to other authorities etc. in Denmark or abroad or in relation to the other parent who has abducted or retained the child abroad.
  • The Child Abduction Unit cannot assist with specific legal advice during the case. If there is a need for actual legal assistance and advice, the left-behind parent can choose to be represented by a Danish lawyer. At english.boernebortfoerelse.dk there is a list of Danish lawyers who specialize in handling cases on international child abduction.
  • The Child Abduction Unit cannot advise on foreign legislation. Through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, the Unit can obtain a list that specifies lawyers in the country in question. The lawyer may assist the left-behind parent and give legal advice on family law of the country.
  • The Child Abduction Unit cannot assist the left-behind parent in any Danish criminal case against the parent who has taken the child abroad.


The role of the left-behind parent

  • It is the left-behind parent who commences a child abduction case under the Hague Convention of 1980 by sending an application for return of the child to the Child Abduction Unit.
  • The left-behind parent chooses if the abduction should be reported to the Danish police.
  • It is the responsibility of the left-behind parent to obtain the information and documentation required for the purpose of the processing of the case, and to arrange for translation of the documents.   
  • Generally, it is the left-behind parent who is a party to the courts' hearing of the child abduction case in the receiving state. Exceptions may exist in the individual countries in which the authorities of the receiving state, e.g. a public prosecutor, is the party representative of the return case.
  • The left-behind parent, potentially with the assistance of a lawyer, has influence on the preparation of the case abroad and the drawing up of pleadings. The Child Abduction Unit assists with general guidance on the procedure under the Convention and with information given by the foreign Central Authority.