Some 58 children were abducted by a parent over the summer, eight more than in the same period last year, and most were taken by their mother, new figures show.
A total of 40 children were taken from the Netherlands to another country while 18 children were brought to the Netherlands from abroad, the centre for child abductions CIKO said on Friday.
The organisation said the end to the pandemic travel restrictions has led to more children being abducted although the measures did not stop child abductions while they were in force. In fact, in some cases the restrictions made the problem because they were used as an excuse not to return a child to a parent.
Most of the children who were taken abroad without permission were younger than 13. Some 28 were taken to a country outside the EU and 12 were taken to another European country. In nine in 10 cases, the perpetrator is the child’s mother.
Apart from missing out on education, the children are damaged emotionally, CIKO director Coşkun Çörüz told RTL Nieuws. The separation from a parent can cause lasting trauma which may prevent them from forming relationships in later life, he said.
A quarter of abducted children never return to the Netherlands, Çörüz said. ‘Those who do return do so after weeks and sometimes years. After a long time abroad they need to integrate again in Dutch society, and sometimes learn the language all over again.’
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