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International child abduction

What is an international child abduction?

If your child has been taken to another country by the other parent this could be an international child abduction. According to the Hague Child Abduction Convention 1980, an international child abduction occurs when a child has been taken from his or her habitual residence to another country - or is retained in another country - without the permission of the other parent who has custody rights. The convention only applies to children until the age of 16 years.

Under Dutch law, an international child abduction is also a criminal offense. This is referred to as the withdrawal from the parental authority.

What can you do?

Find out below which steps you can take when your child has been abducted.

1. Contact the Center IKO

Please contact us as soon as possible, before you take any steps. We give you advice and information about the steps that can be helpful in your situation. Not all measures are fit for every case: for example, reporting the abduction to the police is not in every situation recommended. Therefore it is essential to first seek advice from our legal advisors. 



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2. (Cross-border) mediation

Try to contact the abducting parent and try to find a solution together that is in the best interests of your child. For mediation you can ask a friend or family member to help you. You can also contact a professional mediator and apply for cross-border mediation. For more information, please contact the Mediation Bureau of the Center IKO.

3. Request for return through the Central Authority

Is your child abducted to the Netherlands or to a Hague Convention State? Based on the Hague Convention, you have the possibility to file a request for the return of your child at the Central Authority. More information

4. Legal proceedings before the court

You can start legal proceedings before the court in the country where your child is currently staying because of the abduction. More information