International child abduction
If your child has been abducted to a foreign country by their other parent, you should immediately report the abduction to the police. You should also report it to the Dutch Central Authority on International Children’s Issues (Centrale autoriteit Internationale Kinderaangelegenheden (Ca IKA)). The Central Authority can help recover your child if they are under 16 and if you, the parent in the Netherlands, have parental responsibility for the child.
Reporting the abduction to the police
Immediately report the abduction to the police on 0900 8844 (in the Netherlands) or +31 (0)343 57 88 44 (from abroad). The police can help trace the other parent and recover the child. They will work in cooperation with the Public Prosecutor and the Central Authority on International Children's Issues (Ca IKA). The police may also decide to issue an AMBER Alert.
Reporting the abduction to the Central Authority
You should also report the abduction to the Central Authority on International Children's Issues (Ca IKA) in the Netherlands. To do this, you must submit a request to have your child returned to the Netherlands. You can also send an email. The Central Authority is part of the Ministry of Security and Justice. It can help return children under 16 to the Netherlands.
What the Central Authority does
Every country that has signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction has a Central Authority. Central Authorities help resolve international child abduction cases. If a child has been abducted to a country that has signed the convention, the Dutch Central Authority can:
- Investigate where the child is staying. To do this, it will contact the relevant foreign Central Authority. The foreign Central Authority will then attempt to locate the child. If it is unsuccessful, it can ask for assistance from the local police and local criminal justice authorities.
- Arrange the child's return. The foreign Central Authority will contact the parent who is with the child and attempt to arrange the child's return. If this is unsuccessful, the parent in the Netherlands can – through the foreign Central Authority – begin legal proceedings abroad. If the court decides that the child must return to the Netherlands, the parents can arrange this. If attempts to do this are unsuccessful, the Dutch and foreign Central Authorities will arrange the child's return.
Countries that are not a party to any international convention on child abduction do not have Central Authorities. If a child has been taken to one of these countries, the Dutch Central Authority will contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ministry will then ask for the relevant Dutch embassy or consulate to attempt to have the child returned to the Netherlands.
For more information on the way the Dutch Central Authority works and the assistance it can provide, download the international child abduction fact sheet.
Child abducted to the Netherlands
If you live abroad and your child has been abducted to the Netherlands by their other parent, you can contact your local Central Authority for advice. They will then contact the Dutch Central Authority. The Dutch Central Authority will then receive a request to return the child to the country in question.
The Dutch Central Authority will then refer you to the Dutch International Child Abduction Centre (Centrum IKO) for a list of lawyers specialising in international child abduction cases or to the association of family lawyers and divorce mediators ( Vereniging van Familierechtadvocaten en Scheidingsbemiddelaars (vFAS)).
Parents dealing with international child abduction can claim legal aid. For more information contact the Legal Aid Council, the Dutch Central Authority or the Dutch International Child Abduction Centre