Is child abduction a criminal offence?

by | May 26, 2022

Is child abduction a criminal offence?

In the Netherlands it is a criminal act to keep a child from the person(s) who has custody over the child. It is called ‘withdrawal from authority’. This criminal act is described in article 279 of the Dutch Criminal Law.

The Dutch prosecutor’s office has written a guideline about what kind of punishment it will demand in criminal cases about withdrawal from authority. You can read this guideline on the website of the government. The fourth category of cases refers to international child abduction.

In 2019 the Dutch Appeal Court in The Hague has imposed a sentence to a father for international child abduction. He was sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 42 months. He had taken the children from the mother when they were 3 and 8 years old. After that he had taken them to other locations and had changed their names. As a result the mother did not know where the children were for a period of 11 years. You can read this decision on the website of the Dutch courts.

Article 279 of the Dutch Criminal Code:

Any person who intentionally deprives a minor of the legal authority over him or of the supervision of the person who exercises such authority over him shall be punished with imprisonment of not more than six years or a fine of the fourth category.

Imprisonment of up to nine years or a fine of the fifth category shall be imposed if trickery, violence or threat of violence has been used, or if the minor is below 12 years of age.


Read more about International Child Abduction

Read more about child relocation and child abduction in the Netherlands

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