UK-Russia child abduction still a problem but new law may help

August 1 , 2014




With more and more Russians heading to the UK, it’s important to take into account the newly amended Hague Convention on international child abduction. But the UK government still fails to do enough for aggrieved parents


 russia_mapThe wheels of international law turn slowly. On 1 October 2011, Russia became the 86th signatory of the Hague Convention of October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. However, it was only in June last year that the UK recognised Russia’s accession under its own domestic legislation.

With a significant Russian presence in the UK and with an increasing trend of Russian parents placing their children in UK schools, it is important for Russians either coming to the UK or returning to Russia to understand the effect of this recent development.

Research conducted by the Foreign Office suggests that half the UK population think that when a child is abducted it is the responsibility of the government of the country where the child lived to seek and return the child. The stark reality is that little government help is provided and it is up to the parent, at a time of great emotional distress, to instruct a lawyer and pursue recourse via a private application through the court system.

Pictured above: Gentlemen about to discuss the first Hague Convention in 1899, which regulated conduct during warfare.

The convention harmonises the resources from country to country to ensure that children who have been removed from one signatory country to another can be located, apprehended and returned to their parent or guardian in their country of habitual residence, to minimise distress and harm to the child.

Without the convention and the reciprocal legal framework it provides between countries, the return of children can prove more time consuming, costly and ultimately distressing for the child.

Article 3 of the convention states that a child is abducted where:

A) The child habitually resides a country that is a signatory to the convention. The actual nationality of the child or parents is unlikely to be significant in most abduction cases.

B) The child is removed abroad or is being detained there without the permission of their legal guardian in breach of that person’s custody rights.

C) The child is under sixteen years old.

The reality is that harmonising international law is seldom straightforward and the convention is no different. One such difficulty is that the implementation of the convention from state to state can differ in significant ways. Indeed, Hague can conflict with domestic laws.


For example, in Russia, children can be taken abroad by one parent without written permission from the other but that would be considered a crime in many signatory countries of the convention.

Thus a paradox may be created where a child could be taken from Russia to England by one parent without the consent of the other, but as Russia is now a signatory to the convention, a child who is habitually resident in England but who is taken without consent to Russia would be required to be returned by the Russian authorities to the UK.

It is uncontroversial to say that some signatories are more willing to deploy resources to a child abduction incident that others. Russia, has not fared particularly well in this regard historically.

Last year the European Court of Human Rights decreed that Russia had breached a mother’s human rights under Article 8 (which includes a right for a parent to have measures taken by national authorities to reunite them with their children from whom they have been separated) because it took the authorities three years to reunite the boy with his mother.

Conversely, the first British/Russian convention case was settled in November last year; the Russian courts ordered the return of five- and seven-year old boys to their habitual residence in England after they were taken on holiday to Russia by their Russian father, who then failed to return with them.

The complexities that can arise in child abduction cases, combined with public ignorance of the law regarding the removal of children from a country, and the increasing international demography of the UK, particularly London, makes for a combustible mix of factors.

It is stating the obvious to say that foresight is preferable to an international child abduction battle which can and probably will be emotionally distressing and possibly damaging for the child or children involved. Communication between parents, possibly with legal assistance to clarify parental rights, will be effective to prevent a situation arising where the convention needs to be invoked.

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Parents on alert: Child abductions rarely committed by strangers

October 13, 2012


According to the Department of Justice, 800,000 children are reported missing every year in the united states.  Out of that number, 69,000 were kidnapped. “I think anytime a child is missing it’s a big number.  Whether it’s one or 69,000, but yes, 69,000 sounds like a large number,” says criminal justice professor Stacey Hervey from Metro State College in Denver.

Our children are taught to beware of stranger-danger. “If someone you don’t know approaches you, that you yell and scream that this is not my mom or dad,” says Hervey.

But the likely danger is closer to home.  Of the 69,000 children kidnapped every year, 82 percent, eight out of ten, are abducted by a family member.  “In the case of Jessica Ridgeway the media picks up on it very quickly and of course it puts the fear in every parent’s heart.  But in reality they are a very miniscule  number as far as stranger abductions.  The likelihood  is someone that you know is going to take your kid.”

When it comes to anyone having regular contact with your child, don’t be paranoid, be prudent.  “Child predators are very manipulative, and do want to work themselves into your life and make you trust them.”

And the odds of your child being abducted by anybody?  That would be .02 percent.  Perspective is everything.

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Providing assistance in cases of international parental child abductions

August 15, 2012

Source: The Washington Post

More than 1,300 children living in the United States were victims of international parental abductions in 2011 — taken to a foreign country and kept there without one parent’s permission.

As a member of the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, it is Scott Renner’s job to provide assistance to the parent whose child has been taken away without their consent to either Mexico or Canada.


In this role, Renner and his staff help aggrieved parents contact the proper authorities in Mexico or Canada, get legal assistance, locate their children, negotiate voluntary settlements or begin the judicial process for the child’s return so that the issue of custody can be resolved by a court in the U.S. Renner does not make decisions on who should have custody, but steps into the breach to help parents who often have nowhere else to turn.

“We don’t judge their cases. It’s not about who is a better parent,” said Renner. “A judge in Mexico is supposed to decide if the child is to be sent back to the United States, and a judge in the United States will decide which parent should have custody.”

Renner said the cases are often difficult, contentious and emotional. They involve navigating different judicial systems, different legal definitions of custody and many other obstacles.

“We don’t deal with happy families and the cases are often complicated,” said Renner. “It may not always turn out well, but we give them a voice, explain the laws and procedures and help them as best we can.”

About one-third of all reported international parental child abductions from the United States involve Mexico. According to the latest statistics, 1,367 children were reported abducted by parents and taken to foreign countries in 2011, with 465 of those going to Mexico. Mexico has been a focal point for a number of reasons, including strong cultural and social and economic ties with the U.S., many of cross-border relationships, a great deal of immigration back and forth and a very long border.

Renner said some abducted children are never returned, some cases take years to resolve and others are settled relatively quickly. He said improved cooperation with Mexican authorities has helped, with 180 children returned to the United States from Mexico in 2010 and 250 in 2011.

“One of the biggest problems we have is locating the kids. Mexico is a chaotic country,” said Renner. “Kids can be missing for eight to 10 years.”

In one case, Renner said, a child was abducted by a parent in the United States and taken to a town in Mexico that had barricaded itself from the drug traffickers. He said a local judge was “brave enough’ to pursue the matter, negotiated with the child’s grandmother and got an agreement to send the youngster back to the mother in the United States.

Renner became the first chief of a newly-created Mexico and Canada branch in September 2010 shortly after the United States’ relationship with Mexico on parental abductions hit a low point. The State Department had cited Mexico as “not compliant” with the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention, a treaty designed to return an abducted child promptly to his country of habitual residence.

Colleagues said Renner promoted coordination and collaboration with Mexico, and helped improve a strained relationship, expedite new cases and resolve many of those that had been backlogged.

Beth Payne, director of the State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues, said Renner “worked on the diplomatic level to change way we dealt with Mexican officials on child abduction issues.”

“He traveled to Mexico, worked with different groups, met with government officials, established personal relationships and strong connections, talked about what was in their interest and ours, and got positive solutions to many cases,” said Payne. “He has created the model that we are now following in the rest of the office.”

Renner, a Foreign Service Officer, joined the State Department in 1997 and has had assignments in Nigeria, Chile, Columbia and Poland. This month, he will be promoted from his current job to serve as division chief for Western Hemisphere Outgoing Abductions.

Renner said his job, like many of his other assignments, have given him a chance to “help people solve their problems.”

“I have always been motivated to make a difference on a personal level,” said Renner. “It is really rewarding for me and I am getting paid to do it.”

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The Hague Convention – Warnings over parental child abduction treaty

July 22, 2012

Source: BBC

An international treaty designed to ensure the swift return of children abducted abroad by a parent needs to be implemented faster, researchers say. A study suggests the proportion of returns under the Hague Convention on child abduction fell between 2003 and 2008 and that cases took longer.

Cardiff University Professor Nigel Lowe says his study sends “warning signs” about the treaty’s overall performance. The body overseeing the treaty says it relies on members to operate it well.

The Cardiff study compared figures from 2008 with those from five years earlier and found there was a 45% increase in the number of applications to get children back, that the proportion of returns had declined and cases took longer to resolve.

“I’m particularly concerned with the time which I think is the essence of Hague cases,” said Professor Lowe, describing himself as a “big fan” of the convention. “The finding that they are taking longer to be dealt with for me is a worrying one and one that I wish to see addressed.”

Constitutional vs. International lawThe Hague Convention requires an abducted child to be sent back quickly to where they usually live, which is viewed as the best country to decide on matters such as custody and access.

Continue reading the main storyAbduction: what to do

  • Seek advice from a family lawyer and request an order stopping the child from being removed from the country
  • Contact the police if the abduction is expected to take place within the next 48 hours
  • Keep the child’s passport in a safe place
  • Call the Foreign Office’s Child Abduction Section on 020 7008 0878

Source: FCO

A judgement on whether or not to return a child should ideally be reached within six weeks of court proceedings starting.

There are some exemptions – for example where there’s a “grave risk” that a child would be exposed to “physical or psychological harm”. Yet cases can take years to resolve with some never resolved at all.

One man who’s been trying to get his daughter returned from Mexico for almost two and a half years told Radio 4’s Face the Facts an “amparo” had held things up. It is a part of Mexican law that recognises a citizen’s constitutional human rights.

“They told me they are going to hear this amparo in July last year, then they said they are going to push it back to August, then September. So until they decide about the amparo then nothing happens,” the man said.

Mexico is a fellow signatory to the Hague Convention with the UK. Its Deputy Ambassador in London, Alejandro Estivil, said its supreme court had clearly resolved that constitutional law took precedence over international matters but insisted the country took its obligations seriously.

“I can guarantee that Mexican authorities are trying in every case to comply with the Hague Convention and be as swift as possible,” he said.

Consensus-based process”I think one has to acknowledge that the convention is not perfect and it isn’t implemented perfectly everywhere”, said Professor Louise Ellen Teitz, First Secretary of the Hague Conference on Private International Law and who is responsible for the treaty. “There are more cases and fewer resources.”

Continue reading the main story“Start Quote

If we go pussyfooting like this all the time, nothing is ever going to change. We need to be much more firm”

Lady Catherine MeyerParents and Abducted Children Together

Professor Teitz said the convention relied on its members to operate it well. There are around 200 legal jurisdictions in the world. Only 87 of them are signatories to the Hague Convention, with no penalties for those that do not follow the rules. The process depends on international diplomacy to encourage poorly performing countries to improve.

“We are very careful never to name names or to seek to criticise or stigmatise”, said Lord Justice Thorpe, the head of international family justice for England and Wales.

“The whole process depends on consensus so you hope always that you can uplift some country that’s not performing so well, by either example or by direct aid.”

But Lady Catherine Meyer – whose two sons were detained overseas by her ex-husband 10 years ago and who now runs the charity Parents and Abducted Children Together – said the time for diplomacy alone was over.

She said she would like to see countries named and shamed and thrown out of the convention if they do not stick to it. “If we go pussyfooting like this all the time, nothing is ever going to change. We need to be much more firm.

“The Hague Convention is better than nothing but it is absolutely not fool proof and some countries do not abide by it the way they should.”

You can listen Face the Facts: The Stolen Families on BBC Radio 4 at 21:00 BST on Sunday 22 July and on BBC iPlayer.

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FREE legal assistance for parents of abducted children

Source: F4E

FREE legal assistance will be available to parentswho are dealing with the abduction of a child from Australia.

The federal government has reached an agreement for new funding with the International Social Services (ISS) to provide the new service.

ISS already provides counselling and mediation services which are funded by the Attorney-General’s Department.

Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said the service is designed to provide practical support to parents in distressing circumstances.

“We want to make it as straightforward as possible for parents to get the assistance they need when dealing with the abduction of their children from Australia,” Ms Roxon said in a statement.

ISS can be contacted by phoning 1300 657 843 or online at

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Mexico / U.S – Cross-Border Child Custody, a Legal Tangle

Source: IPS News

MEXICO CITY, Jan 14, 2012 (IPS) – Mexican or foreign-born children being held by one of their parents in this or another country are caught up in a legal tangle marred by red tape and the arbitrary powers of judges, according to experts.

The claim for restitution of an under-age child taken to another country, or to Mexico, is based on the Inter-American Convention on International Restitution of Minors (IACIRM), ratified by Mexico in 1994, and the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which came into force in 1983.

“Lawmakers are not necessarily familiar with the provisions of the conventions. Most judges do not use them as references in their decisions. And the red tape, when a child is abducted from or brought to Mexico, is a real ordeal for the families,” Martín Pérez, head of the Network for Children’s Rights in Mexico (REDIM), told IPS.

Moreover, the families “have to undertake the search for their children using their own resources,” added Pérez, the executive director of REDIM, a coalition of 63 NGOs that carries out programmes for vulnerable children and adolescents.

In 2008, there were 272 petitions for the return of children to custody, compared to 123 in 2003, according to the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. These figures do not include petitions brought under the IACIRM.

And there were 168 demands for restitution under the IACIRM in 2008, an increase of 522 percent compared with 2003.

Fifteen Latin American and Caribbean nations reported 315 petitions for the return of minors in 2008, equivalent to 16 percent of the world total. In 61 of these cases, both countries involved were within the region.

In 2010, there were 221 such cases in Mexico; 101 of them involved the abduction from this country to others of 141 children or adolescents; and the remaining 120 cases involved 169 irregular transfers of minors from other countries to Mexico, according to the foreign ministry, which is the designated central authority in Mexico tasked with fulfilling the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention.

Mexico’s free trade treaties, like the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and the United States and the 2000 Global Agreement with the European Union, brought transnational companies flocking to Mexico, creating opportunities for marriage between Mexican citizens and foreigners as well as increasing the presence of couples from other countries.

“We don’t have national legislation for detecting, warning and following up on these kinds of cases. There is no comprehensive system for the protection of children, paying paramount attention to the best interests of the child, nor of measures to benefit mothers and children,” Nashieli Ramírez, general coordinator of Ririki Intervención Social, an NGO active on behalf of the rights of children, told IPS.

The aim of the Inter-American and the Hague conventions is for minors to be returned to their country of origin when they have been illegally taken away or kept in another, and for a parent’s custody rights, granted by any state, to be respected and monitored.

In 2008 there were 36 cases in Mexico in which children were voluntarily returned, nine of which involved a court decision based on an agreement between the parents and 22 on decisions without an agreement, while in another 34 cases restitution was legally denied because the child did not reside in the petitioning country, or the petitioner did not have custody rights.

Forty-nine percent of the persons who brought the legal complaints were fathers, and 47 percent mothers. In 2008, 270 children were involved in the lawsuits, 51 percent of whom were girls and 49 percent boys. This contrasted with 2003, when the gender balance was markedly skewed, with 64 percent of the children being girls.

Final decisions on the proceedings can take months, comparable to the global average. Voluntary repatriations took an average of 232 days, compared to the world average of 121 days, while restitution by court order took 206 days, and judicial denials 290 days, on average.

Time is regarded as a key factor by the experts, especially in cases where the mother has been a victim of domestic violence and the child is at risk.

In its 2011 response to the questionnaire on fulfilment of the Hague Abduction Convention, Mexico’s foreign ministry acknowledged that while some judges were experts on international abduction of minors, the majority were experts in family law.

It also indicated that legal advice was provided at the start of proceedings, but the parties involved had to find their own legal representation, at their own cost.

“The children’s views are not consistently taken into account, and the legal rights of the plaintiff are not safeguarded. Therefore, legislative harmonisation, training of judges and lawmakers and clear procedures are required,” REDIM’s Pérez recommended. A new feature observed by experts is “parental alienation”, involving brainwashing of the abducted minor by the abducting parent against the other, which inflicts emotional damage on the child.

The foreign ministry also admitted that it does not use the Hague Convention’s iChild system.

iChild is an electronic case management tool that is used to identify, save and share information and monitor cases of child abduction.

“What predominates in Mexico is a view of children as part of the private domain, and not the public domain. So the issue needs to be on the public agenda and in the state budget,” said Ramírez, of Ririki Intervención Social.

In October 2011, a constitutional reform established that the best interest of the child was to be the guiding principle in all the decisions and actions of the state.

But the problem of parental abductions of minors does not appear in campaigns on behalf of children organised by NGOs, nor is it mentioned among the recommendations made to the Mexican state by the internationally elected Geneva-based Committee on the Rights of the Child, as part of its task of monitoring implementation of the 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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Parents who abduct children should face longer in prison, says top judge

Source: The Telegraph

Parents who abduct their own children could face life sentences because of the “unspeakable cruelty” they cause, the country’s most senior judge said yesterday.

Lord Judge said has called for tougher penalties for parents who abduct their own children. Photo: PA

Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, dismissed a legal precedent that parents in such cases should not be charged with kidnap.

That could mean them facing life imprisonment instead of the current seven year maximum for child abduction.

Lord Judge said the maximum term for child abduction should also be increased because it currently does not meet “true justice”, especially for the other “loving parent” whose children are snatched away.

The call for a review came as he dismissed sentence appeals by two fathers who abducted their children and took them abroad “for very many years”.

He said cases where fathers abducted children and took them abroad “have become increasingly troublesome”.

In one case, the children were away from their mother for so long that they now refuse to have contact with her.

Lord Judge said: “The abduction of children from a loving parent is an offence of unspeakable cruelty to the loving parent and to the child or children, whatever they may later think of the parent from whom they have been estranged as a result of the abduction.”

Ruling on a separate case in 1991, the Court of Appeal concluded that in cases where a parent abducts their child prosecutors should “avoid altogether charging anyone with child kidnapping”.

But sitting in the same court yesterday, Lord Judge said: “Our view is clear.

“Simply because the child has been abducted by a parent, given current conditions, it no longer necessarily follows that for policy reasons a charge of kidnapping must always be deemed inappropriate”.

He said the previous ruling “has no continuing authority” and asked the Law Commission, the Government’s legal advisers, to address the issue as part of its ongoing review of kidnap laws.

It paves the way for such parents being charged with kidnap and facing a possible life sentence.

Lord Judge also called for those convicted of child abduction to face longer terms by raising the maximum term available for such offences beyond the current seven years.

He said there were currently child abduction cases which “merit a sentence greater than the maximum current sentence of seven years imprisonment after a trial”.

The “wide discrepancy” between sentences for kidnap and abduction offences under “seems illogical”, he said

Sitting with Lord Justice McFarlane and Mr Justice Royce, Lord Judge said: “There are some cases of child abduction where, given the maximum available sentence, with or without the appropriate discount for a guilty plea, the available sentencing options do not meet the true justice of the case, properly reflective of the culpability of the offender, and the harm caused by the offence.”

Such crimes result in “depriving the other parent of the joy of his or her children and depriving the children from contact with a loving parent with whom they no longer wish to communicate,” he said.

The court dismissed an appeal by Talib Hussein Kayani, 49, who pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to two offences of abducting a child and was sentenced in June to five years imprisonment.

The two sons, who were taken to Pakistan until 2009, have not seen their mother since 2000 and still refuse to have contact with her.

Madhat Solliman, 58, who pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court to three counts of abducting a child and was sentenced to three years jail in April, also lost his sentence appeal.

He abducted his three children in 2002 and took them to Egypt before returning in 2009.

Lord Judge stressed that abduction was an offence of “great seriousness” and in both cases the mothers had “suffered extreme emotional hardship”.

He said: “The periods of abduction were prolonged, many years in duration, and the relationship with the mothers was irremediably damaged.

“In the case of the mothers, the hardship will be life long.”

Lord Judge also called for tougher penalties for those who breach court order designed to prevent forced marriages, describing the current sentence of two years as “utterly inadequate”.

The Home Office is currently consulting on whether to make forcing someone in to a marriage as a criminal offence in itself. Lord Judge added that forcing someone to marry against their will also effectively results in them being raped.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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Parental Abduction – How To Recover a Abducted Child – ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

Time is a very important factor if a child is missing.

Immediate access to current information about the missing child is critical. Although nobody hopes to be in such a situation where this information is needed, parents have to keep in mind that child abduction can occur anytime, anywhere, to any child. Therefore, parents must have the resources and knowledge about their children ready, so they can take action if their children become missing.

The goal of ABP World Group international child recovery services is to locate, negotiate and recover your missing child. We can dispatch personnel to most locations in the world; we specialize in locating missing children up to ages 18.

Areas of expertise: Parental abduction, Missing children, Kidnappings,
Runaway children and Counselling.

Unfortunately in this day and time parental kidnapping happens and we are here to help you trough this difficult time.
We are aware parental child abduction can be difficult to resolve, but we use professional operatives with the skills and expertise to help find a resolution.

One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available

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El 53% de llamadas a número de niños desaparecidos es por secuestro parental

El 53 por ciento de las llamadas recibidas entre septiembre de 2010 y marzo de 2011 al número 116000 para casos de niños desaparecidos que gestiona la Fundación Anar hacen referencia al secuestro parental de un menor. 

Así lo asegura en un comunicado la Fundación Anar, con motivo de la conmemoración mañana del Día Internacional de Niños Desaparecidos, jornada que tiene su origen en un hecho ocurrido el 25 de mayo de 1979 cuando un menor fue raptado en Nueva York (Estados Unidos) y posteriormente se le dio por desaparecido.

La Fundación puso en marcha en España el pasado 15 de septiembre el número único de la UE 116000 para casos de niños desaparecidos tras adjudicarle la gestión de este servicio el Ministerio de Industria, Turismo y Comercio.

Anar asegura que los familiares amigos y educadores de los niños desaparecidos viven una situación “inimaginable para todos”, por lo que es necesario “brindarles el apoyo psicológico, técnico y jurídico que pueda aliviar la angustia de estos momentos”. La UE respondió a este problema precisamente con la implantación del teléfono único 116000 para todo el continente, que en el futuro apunta el comunicado, será de ámbito mundial.

Actualmente, este número está activo en 13 países europeos y para ofrecer este servicio en España y actuar de “forma coordinada” con el resto de los países europeos, la Fundación Anar forma parte de la plataforma internacional “Missing Children Europe” (Niños Perdidos Europa). El total de llamadas atendidas desde que se puso en marcha el teléfono el 15 de septiembre de 2010 hasta el 31 de marzo de 2011, asciende a 1.775 llamadas procedentes de toda España y muchas de ellas son para informarse sobre las características del servicio y qué ayudas puede ofrecer.

Hasta el 31 de Marzo de 2011, estas llamadas han dado origen a la apertura de 117 casos por desaparición de un menor.
Según explica la Fundación Anar, un niño desaparecido puede haberse fugado de su domicilio, ser un menor de edad inmigrante no acompañado, puede ser objeto de un secuestro parental, puede estar perdido o herido, o bien puede ser víctima de un secuestro.

En este sentido, indica que en el periodo de tiempo mencionado, el 53 por ciento de los casos atendidos hacen referencia al secuestro parental de un menor, es decir, cuando uno o ambos padres, o la persona que ostenta la guarda del menor se lo lleva a otro lugar dentro del país, o al extranjero, contra la voluntad del otro progenitor.

El 33 por ciento de los casos se deben a fugas de menores de su domicilio: aquellas en las que el menor voluntariamente se va o abandona su casa, la institución donde está acogido o la compañía de las personas que son responsables de su cuidado.

Publicado por : ABP World Group Ltd. internacional de menores por Servicios de Recuperación

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Sustracción de Menores – Lección 1 (El secuestro parental)


Estás en la cocina preparando la cena, mientras tus hijos están jugando en el jardín delantero. Cuando sales a llamarlos, ya no están.

Imagina…Dejas a tú hijo en la escuela antes de ir al trabajo. Cuando vas a recogerlo en la tarde, te dicen que alguien más se lo ha llevado.

Imagina…Estás esperando a tú ex conyugue, que regresará a tú hijo tras una visita de fin de semana. Cuando tú hijo no retorna, vas a la casa del otro padre solo para descubrir el departamento vacío y abandonado.

Nota: Nuestro personal habla español:

La respuesta fisiológica, en cada una de estas situaciones es la misma. Tú corazón comienza a latir con fuerza y su adrenalina comienza a surgir a través de sus venas, sobre el hecho de que sus hijos se han ido. En un instante su cerebro considera posibles explicaciones, pero cada una de ellas desafía la lógica. Su cerebro sabe lo que su corazón está tratando desesperadamente de negar. Sus hijos han sido secuestrados.

Hay pocas situaciones de horror que pueden competir con la experiencia de tener un niño secuestrado. Las películas y la televisión sensacionalista muestran la sustracción de menores. Las noticias de la noche distorsionan la información correcta sobre el secuestro de menores, en la mayoría de los casos solo se presenta el más dramático ( en otras palabras el que adjudica más sintonía) Por ejemplo el secuestro de Elizabeth Smart. Existe, sin embargo una forma menos glamorosa de secuestros de menores que son cometidos por los padres del propio niño.

Secuestros Parentales

Cada año hay más de 350.000 secuestros de niños en Estados Unidos. La gran mayoría de ellos son perpetrados por uno de los padres del niño. El término oficial para este tipo de crimen es “sustracción parental de menores” pero también se conoce como “secuestro de niños” ó “robo de niños”. Independientemente del hecho de que él niño es secuestrado por el otro progenitor, no disminuye ó niega el trauma  emocionalmente infringidos en el otro padre.

“Secuestro de los Padres”, es el secuestro ilegal de un niño por un parte que priva a la otra parte de la custodia legal del niño. En situaciones de divorcio, el secuestrador puede tener la custodia o no. Esto significa que incluso sí el secuestrador es el padre que tiene la custodia, está cometiendo un delito al privar a la otra parte de su tiempo de visita ordenada por el tribunal, quiere decir que el padre con custodia es culpable de sustracción de menores.

El Departamento de Justicia de Estados Unidos (D.O.J) Oficina de Justicia Juvenil y Prevención de la delincuencia llevo a cabo un estudio de investigación intensiva y exhaustiva sobre sustracción de menores en los Estados Unidos. El proyecto se llama el Estudio Nacional de Incidencia de desaparecidos, secuestrados, fugitivos (NISMART). La sección que se centro específicamente en los niños secuestrados por miembros de la familia se llama NISMART-2.

En este artículo se hace referencia a la NISMART-2. El estudio oiginal se puede encontrar en

Definición de Secuestro Parental

A los propósitos de NISMART-2, el secuestro de la familia se definió como la toma de posesión de un niño, por un miembro de su familia, en violación de una orden de custodia, un decreto u otros aspectos de patria potestad legítima. En la toma o posesión de algunos elementos de ocultación, de vuelo, ó la intención de privar a un custodio legar por un tiempo definido de su libertad.


El NISMART- 2 profundiza en la definición anterior, definiendo con más precisión los siguientes términos:

Tomado: Un niño fue adoptado por un miembro de la familia, violando una orden de custodia ó decreto u otro derecho de custodia legítima.

  • Mantenimiento: El niño no fue entregado ó devuelto por un miembro de la familia, en violación de una orden de custodia ó decreto u otro derecho de justicia legítima.
  • Ocultación: Un miembro de la familia trato de ocultar la toma ó el paradero del niño con la intención de impedir el regreso, de contacto con las visitas.
  • Vuelo: Un miembro de la familia transporta ó tenía la intención transportar al niño por parte del Estado con el fín de hacer más difícil su recuperación.
  • Intento de privar indefinidamente: Un miembro de la familia, indica la intención de evitar el contacto con el niño de forma indefinida ó afectando los privilegios de privación de libertad por un tiempo indefinido.

Conceptualizando el Problema

De los 203, 900 de los secuestros de padres de menores estudiados, el 57% fueron catalogados como “Cuidador Ausente” , lo que quiere decir que el padre víctima no sabía dónde estaba el niño durante al menos una hora, se alarmaron y buscaron al niño desaparecido. Sin embargo, el NISMART-2 revela:

Es posible que un niño sea privado ilícitamente de la custodia por un miembro de su familia, pero el paradero de ese niño se conoce totalmente. Por lo tanto, un niño puede ser secuestrado, pero no necesariamente se encuentra desaparecido.

De hecho, el estudio encontró que el 43% de los niños secuestrados no eran considerados como “desparecidos” por el padre víctima, ya que él conocía el paradero del niño.

“Aunque los secuestros de la familia que se describen en este estudio tenían típicamente ciertos elementos perturbadores, como los intentos de evitar el contacto o modificar los arreglos de custodia permanente, que no implican generalmente el tipo más grave de las características asociadas a los tipos de secuestros de la familia probablemente se informó en las noticias. Ocultamiento  real del niño se produjo en una minoría de los episodios. Uso de la fuerza, las amenazas de dañar al niño y la fuga del Estado fueron poco frecuentes. En contraste con la imagen creada por la palabra “secuestro”, la mayoría de los niños secuestrados por un miembro de la familia ya estaban bajo la custodia legal del autor cuando el episodio comenzó. Además, casi la mitad de los niños de la familia secuestrados fueron devueltos en una semana o menos. “

Incluso si el niño no se considera perdido, el secuestro sigue siendo considerado abuso de menores por el daño que se inflige a los niños. El NISMART-1  observó que “secuestro familiar” puede resultar en un daño psicológico al niño” y el NISMART-2  establece que “los secuestros de la familia” constituyen un peligro importante en la vida de los niños, también cabe recalcar  que es un daño potencial en los niños  “secuestrados por su familia”, estén reportados como desaparecidos o no.

Características de los secuestros parentales

Ubicación y temporada. 73% de los secuestros parentales se llevó a cabo en la propia casa del niño, ó en el patio,  ó  en el hogar,  ó  en el patio de un familiar u  amigo. Los niños fueron retirados de las escuelas ó centros de cuidado diurno en sólo el 7% de los casos. En el 63% de casos,  los niños  estaban ya con el  secuestrador,  en circunstancias legales inmediatamente antes del secuestro.
Póngase en contacto con la Policía. En el 40% de los casos, padres agraviados no se comunicaron  con la policía, para denunciar secuestro. El estudio encontró una serie de razones para esto, pero la mayoría de las respuestas indicaron que el padre no creía que la policía intervendría en el asunto  porque el paradero del niño se conocía, y estaba bajo el cuidado de un tutor legal además no había evidencias de que el  niño estaba siendo perjudicado. El mayor porcentaje de los secuestros tuvieron lugar durante verano.

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Las edades. 45% de los secuestradores se encontraban en sus treintas.   44% de los niños secuestrados eran menores de 6 años de edad.
Los indicadores de episodios graves. “El uso de amenazas, fuerza física, ó de las armas, era relativamente poco común en los “secuestros de la familia.” 17% fueron trasladados fuera del estado, con la intención de hacer la recuperación más difícil. 44% se ocultaban, al menos temporalmente del padre víctima y el  76% incluye los intentos de evitar el contacto. 82% incluye la intención al afectar de forma permanente los privilegios de custodia de los padres agraviados.


“Sustracción de menores” por parte de los padres, es el secuestro ilegal de un niño por un padre, que priva a la otra parte de sus derechos de custodia legal. Este tipo de robo de niño no sólo victimiza al otro padre, sino que también es una forma grave de abuso infantil.
Cuando el padre secuestrador, decide pasar a la clandestinidad ó huye de estado o país, la recuperación del niño se convierte en extremadamente difícil – y a veces imposible. Debido a esto, si usted sospecha que su niño está en riesgo de secuestro,  tiene que actuar ahora. Hay pasos que usted puede tomar para reducir el riesgo de secuestro, así como acciones destinadas a hacer que la recuperación de su niño sea  mucho más probable.

Publicado por : ABP World Group Ltd. internacional de menores por Servicios de Recuperación

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