Foreign Office Minister for consular services Mark Simmonds pays tribute to those who have suffered the trauma of a missing or abducted child.
Marking International Missing Children’s Day, Mark Simmonds said:
Today is an opportunity to raise public awareness of children who have gone missing or been abducted within the UK and overseas. Children go missing in a wide range of circumstances and in all cases we are eager to find them and return them to their homes and families.
This includes when children are abducted overseas by one of their own parents. These missing children are often overlooked but we must remember that parental child abduction also has a devastating impact on children, destroying their relationship with both parents and isolating them from their home.
This is a growing problem. Over the last 9 years we have seen an 81% increase in the number of new cases. In 2003/4 the FCO worked on cases in 51 countries; that figure has now risen to 84. This shows just how widespread the problem has become, affecting people from all parts of the world.
We will continue to do all we can to provide advice and support to families dealing with international parental child abduction. But these cases are extremely difficult to resolve and the reality is that whilst help is available, parental child abduction cases can take years to resolve.
As we mark International Missing Children’s Day, we should think not just of those who are missing or abducted, but of how we can work to make sure abductions stop once and for all. No differences between parents should be worth the emotional distress of a child wrenched from his or her home.