Child abduction

International Child Abduction

Abduction can be extremely damaging for a child and is never the solution to a problematic situation.

International Child Abduction Centre

The International Child Abduction Centre (IKO) is a Dutch agency that serves as the first port in abduction-related matters. There are cross-border mediators affiliated to the IKO who specialise in abduction cases as well as related issues, such as moving abroad with children etc. It’s always preferable to seek an amicable solution first, instead of taking the law into your own hands.

Lawyers working together

In abduction cases, it’s advisable to make use of a lawyer in the Netherlands, but also of one in the country where the child is actually staying. Proceedings for the child’s return will namely have to be commenced in that country.

At the same time, there may be a need for certain proceedings in the Netherlands to enable the child to be returned. These proceedings could involve: applying for emergency documents, issuing a temporary care order for the child, determining the child’s habitual residence, and change of custody. It is necessary to work with specialised child abduction lawyers to seek the best possible solution for the child.

Central Authority

Since 1 January 2012, the parent who is left behind is also required to appoint a lawyer.  Previously, the Central Authority represented that parent, but this is no longer the case. However, there are still plenty of ways in which this agency can assist you. The Central Authority mediates in international family cases involving children and has a wealth of expertise.


Often, several different experts and organisations (such as psychologists and the police) are involved in abduction cases. The most important thing is to never lose sight of the child’s interests.

If you are in an abduction situation because you have taken your child away without the consent of your former partner or because you are confronted with the abduction of your child, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.


This article was updated November 2017.