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'Relationship breakdown' behind child abduction figures

Acting Reunite director Alison Shalaby, Credit: DaybreakITV

The sharp rise in children snatched by a parent and taken to a foreign country is the result of relationships between two people from different countries breaking down, a charity chief told Daybreak.

Acting Reunite director Alison Shalaby explained: "When those relationships break down, one parent wants to return to their home country. So they are making that decision for themselves but also making the decision for the child as well."

Child abduction warning ahead of Christmas

Parents are urged to be vigilant of former partners who may snatch their children and take them across foreign borders with Christmas around the corner.

Head of the charity Reunite, which assists parents whose children have been taken by their other parent, warned Christmas could be "a particularly stressful time".

Parental child abduction is not faith or country specific – we see cases involving a range of countries from France and Poland to Thailand, Pakistan and Australia.

The holidays can be a particularly stressful time for families, especially if the relationship between parents has broken down.

However, there is help available if you think that your partner may be considering abducting your children.

Last year we helped to prevent 412 cases involving 586 children which demonstrates something can be done to prevent it from happening to you.

– Chief Executive of Reunite, Alison Shalaby

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Top 10 Hague countries children were abducted to

The Hague Convention is an international agreement dealing with cross-border adoption, child trafficking and child laundering.

Top 10 Hague Convention countries snatched children have been taken to over the last year are:

  • USA 32 children
  • Poland 29
  • Ireland 28
  • Germany 18
  • France 12
  • Canada 11
  • South Africa 10
  • Spain 10
  • Australia 9
  • Turkey 8

Parental child abduction cases 'double in 10 years'

The number of children snatched by a parent in the midst of a custody battle has more than doubled in the space of a decade, the Government has said.

The Foreign Office has launched a campaign to highlight the number of children snatched by a parent every year. Credit: Reuters

Figures from the Foreign Office revealed they were now involved in 580 custody cases this year alone, where as they had 272 new potential child abductions in 2003/4.

Charity Reunite, which specialises in assisting parents whose children has taken, have dealt with 447 new cases involving 616 children this year.

Christmas 2012 and the end of the summer holidays saw their caseload surge, the charity revealed.