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Statistics on child abduction cases can be found here

Please find below information that could be relevant for the press.

 

Worth knowing about international child abductions

For a situation to be considered international child abduction, a number of conditions must all be met:

  • Before the abduction, the child lived in another country (the country of habitual residence) than the country in which it is now staying.
  • The parent who wants the child back has sole or joint custody under the rules of the country where the child normally lives.
  • It is contrary to the rules of the country where the child normally lives that the child has been taken to or is being retained in the country where it is now staying.
  • The parent who wants the child back has exercised his or her custody rights before the abduction. That does not mean that the child has necessarily lived with the parent who wants the child back.

It may be a case of wrongful retention, for example, if the parents had agreed that the child was to go on holiday outside the country where it normally lives, and one parent has not made sure that the child returned from the holiday. 

Depending on whether the parents have joint custody or whether one parent has sole custody, some additional conditions must be met. Read more at this webpage.

The Child Abduction Unit under the Ministry for Children and Social Affairs coordinates the contact to other Danish and foreign authorities in cases on child abduction from Denmark to both convention countries and non-convention countries. The Child Abduction Unit cooperates with the Ministry of Foreign Affais in cases on abduction to countries outside the convention cooperation.

 

If the parents have joint custody

Under Danish law, it is a case of child abduction when all these conditions are met:

  • The parents have joint custody.
  • Custody is in dispute.
  • One parent leaves Denmark with the child without the other parent’s consent.
  • No decision has been made allowing the child to stay or take up its residence abroad.

 

If one parent has sole custody

Under Danish law, it is a case of child abduction when all these conditions are met:

  • One parent has sole custody.
  • The parent who does not have custody leaves Denmark with the child without the consent of the parent having custody.
  • No decision has been made allowing the parent without custody to leave Denmark with the child.

 

Cooperation under the conventions

Like a number of other states, Denmark has acceded to the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the Hague Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children and the European Convention of 20 May 1980 on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children. Denmark does not cooperate with all the countries that have acceded to the conventions. 

Read more about the Hague Convention of 1980 and see which countries Denmark cooperates with here 

Read more about the Hague Convention of 1996 and see which countries Denmark cooperates with here

Read more about the European Convention and see which countries Denmark cooperates with here

One object of the Hague Convention of 1980 is to resolve the problems that arise, when a child is wrongfully removed from a convention state, and the child has thus been abducted. The convention ensures that an abducted child can be rapidly returned from one convention state to another. 

All the states which have acceded to the Hague Convention of 1980 undertake to promptly return an abducted child to the convention state from which the child was abducted. When a child has been abducted to Denmark, the Danish authorities apply the rules and procedures of the Hague Convention of 1980 and the Danish Act on Child Abduction. 

The purpose of the European Convention and the Hague Convention of 1996 is among other things to ensure that a decision on for example custody in one convention state will be recognized and enforced in another convention state.

You can read more about the conventions at this webpage.

 

No cooperation under the conventions

The Child Abduction Unit deals with abduction cases in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs relating to the countries with which Denmark does not cooperate under the Conventions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can offer the following forms of assistance:

  • The embassy in the country where the child is staying can suggest lawyers able to provide legal advice and assistance concerning the family and social legislation of the country.
  • The Ministry can obtain information on the child’s location, possibly through the embassy and the authorities of the country where the child is staying.
  • Clarification, through the local lawyer in cooperation with the embassy, of the legal basis for the child’s stay in the relevant country, including the chances of a positive outcome of a court decision.
  • Request to the authorities in the country where the child is staying for return of the child if there are any prospects of success. In some parts of the world, however, this step will not always lead to a resolution of the matter, as the abduction of a child by its own parent is not necessarily recognised as contrary to the law.
  • By experience, a possibility in some cases may be that the Danish embassy tries to persuade the abductor to assist in an amicable solution to the matter. This process takes typical a long time to complete.
  • Practical assistance in connection with, for example, contact with the child, transport and accommodation in connection with the return journey to Denmark, issuance of a passport, the purchase of tickets and the like.

 

Read more on the Ministry of Foreign Affais website here