Tackling international child abduction

The Dutch government wants abducted children to be returned to the place where they normally live as soon as possible. That is why the government implements the international agreements based on the Hague Child Abduction Convention.

International agreements on tackling child abduction

The Hague Convention on Child Abduction contains international agreements on tackling international child abduction. Every country that has signed the Convention observes these agreements and has a Central Authority that parents can apply to if their child has been abducted and taken abroad.

If a child has been abducted and taken abroad, the left-behind parent can apply to the Dutch Central Authority for their return. The Authority then starts legal proceedings to get the child back as soon as possible. If a child has been abducted abroad and taken to the Netherlands, the Dutch Central Authority will assess the request from the Central Authority abroad for the child to be returned to that country. The Dutch Central Authority then ensures that the request for the child’s return is formally submitted to the district court.

If a child is abducted from the Netherlands and taken to a country that has not signed the Hague Convention on Child Abduction, the Dutch Central Authority requests assistance from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Legal aid in child abduction cases

If your child has been abducted but you cannot afford the legal costs of applying for their return, you may be eligible for legal aid. In that case, the government will pay some of your legal costs. Whether you are eligible will depend on your income and other factors.