Child abduction from Denmark to a non-convention country

The Child Abduction Unit, which is located in the Ministry for Children and Social Affairs, is the coordinating unit in cases on international child abduction.

The Child Abduction Unit is the Danish Central Authority under three conventions in the area. Denmark cooperates with a large number of countries under the conventions, but not all countries have acceded to the conventions, just as Denmark has not established cooperation with all countries.
Here you may find complete lists of countries with which Denmark cooperates under the conventions


The role and assistance of the Child Abduction Unit in cases where the child has been abducted to or is retained in a non-convention country

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 the Danish authorities. Below are some examples of specific tasks performed by the Child Abduction Unit.

  • The Child Abduction Unit receives a request for assistance from the left-behind parent in Denmark. The Child Abduction Unit examines which Danish authorities might be relevant to contact about the case.
  • The Child Abduction Unit offers an initial meeting to the left-behind parent and/or his/her lawyer. At the meeting, representatives of other Danish authorities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, will participate. The purpose of the meeting is to collect and review all relevant information in the case and to discuss the possibilities of solving the case, including the possibilities of reaching an amicable solution and mediation.
  • The Child Abduction Unit will be in ongoing contact with the Danish and foreign authorities involved, as well as with the left-behind parent and his/her Danish lawyer, to ensure progress of the case. 
  • In collaboration with the left-behind parent and/or his/her lawyer, the Child Abduction Unit may give guidelines on the possibilities of financial assistance, and the Child Abduction Unit processes the application on legal aid from the left-behind parent.
  • In connection with the child's return to Denmark, the Child Abduction Unit can assist with the contact to the relevant Danish authorities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, which can assist with e.g. the issuing of an emergency travel document to the child. At the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, you can read more about the ministry's assistance in child abduction cases (the website is only available in Danish).
  • 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 does not close the case until 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 of other Danish authorities involved in the case. Likewise, the Unit cannot influence the handling of the case at the authorities or courts in the country abroad.
  • The Child Abduction Unit cannot enforce Danish decisions abroad on i.a. parental custody.
  • The Child Abduction Unit cannot represent the left-behind parent, nor 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 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 Child Abduction 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 help with physically getting back the child.
  • The Child Abduction Unit cannot assist the left-behind parent in any Danish criminal case against the parent who has abducted or retained the child abroad.


The role of the left-behind parent

  • It is the left-behind parent who contacts the Child Abduction Unit with a request for assistance, and it is the parent or his/her representative who has the ongoing contact with the Child Abduction Unit.
  • The left-behind parent chooses if the unlawful abduction should be reported to the Danish police.
  • It is the responsibility of the left-behind parent to obtain the necessary information and documentation, and to arrange for the translation of the documents.
  • In the event of any legal proceedings in the abduction country, such as a custody case, the left-behind parent is a party to the case. The parent can choose to be represented by a lawyer abroad, and there is a possibility of applying for legal aid to cover these costs.