The issue of international parental child abduction is now on the Scottish government’s legislative agenda following the efforts of a Glasgow solicitor.
As part of a consultation on family law reform launched last week, the government is seeking views on “how civil and criminal child abduction by parents can be further prevented”.
Scottish government figures show that the number of reported and recordable “outgoing” abductions has increased since 2007, when there were only two recorded incidents. In 2016, there were 20 recorded.
Campaigners have pointed out that the actual number of these cases is much higher as these figures only reflect reported and recordable cases of abductions specifically to Hague Convention countries, and the Scottish Government has confirmed that it does not record reported abductions to non-Hague Convention countries, of which there are around 97 across the world.
Yousif Ahmed, director of legal services at Cannons Law Practice, began a campaign last October calling for an end to a loophole in the law that allows one parent to remove their child from Scotland without the consent of the other.
Supported by Reunite International, a charity dealing with international parental child abduction, he urged the government to act on the issue.
Mr Ahmed said: “I am very pleased to have been able to lead and coordinate a successful national campaign calling on the Scottish government to implement positive legislative change in Scotland to help protect children and parents from the abuse and devastation of international parental child abduction.”
He added: “The Scottish government has heard the voice of the campaign and has taken our message on board. We are very pleased that as a result of our campaign work, it has now issued a consultation on proposals to reform the law. This is a fantastic achievement within a short space of time.
“We are very grateful and thankful to all of the organisations and people who have supported this campaign and helped us to get to this stage. A very special thanks to Alison Shalaby, CEO of Reunite International, for flying up from England to make representations to the Scottish government in support of the campaign and also to Mary Fee MSP for all of her help and support.
“I would ask everyone to get behind this extremely positive development by encouraging the Scottish government to implement the proposals set out in the consultation and effect the positive legislative change that is needed in Scotland. Together, we can make a difference and achieve a positive and lasting change that will help to protect children and parents all across the country from this abuse.”
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