The Annual Report of the Office of the Head of International Family Justice for England and Wales (“the Office”) released on 3 April 2012 shows a 96% increase in the number of new child abduction cases reported to the Office in 2011 compared to 2010.
This upward trend in child abduction was also highlighted earlier this year when reunite International Child Abduction Centre released its figures which showed a 47 per cent increase in the number of child abduction cases reported to their advice line (see previous blog post).
The Office functions as a centre of expertise and a help desk for general enquiries in the field of international family law for the judiciary and practitioners in this jurisdiction and overseas.
The total number of cases referred to the Office in 2011 was 180 (up from 92 in 2010). As at 8th March 2012 the Office has dealt with over 40 separate international cases in 2012. If that pattern continues unabated, it will lead to a total of 240 new cases in 2012.
The report attributes this increase, in part, to the continuing growth in international family litigation. 65% of children born in London in 2010 had at least one foreign parent which highlights the potential for significant future growth in international family litigation.
Jane Chanot, Director at Hartnell Chanot and Child Abduction Specialist, comments: “Yet again there are worrying statistics highlighting the increase in child abduction, which is a trend we have also witnessed. As child abduction cases continue to rise our advice to parents finding themselves in this tragic situation remains that they must seek legal advice from a specialist lawyer as soon as they possibly can.”
To read the full report click here.