Child Abduction

Child abduction is rare. But we’re prepared for anything.

Professional legal advice will never remove the worry you’ll always feel for your children, but it can help you do your best to protect them. That’s why we use the full force of the law and the resources available to us to take urgent and effective action. We work with the police, the Courts, the Child Abduction Unit within the Ministry of Justice, Interpol and a raft of specialist organisations globally to either prevent abduction in the first place or to secure the safe return of your child.
It’s very simple. If you are concerned that your child may be at risk of abduction, contact us immediately. If you suspect that your child may have already been abducted, contact us immediately. Don’t for a moment hesitate thinking you might be wasting our time. Better safe than sorry. So call us, now, on 0114 249 6751.

How we can help

If you are concerned that there is a real and imminent risk that your child may be removed unlawfully from the UK, we can take a number of steps:

  • Application for a Prohibited Steps order, Residence order, Specific Issue order and/or Parental Responsibility order, preventing the removal of the child from the UK and the possible surrender of the child’s passport
  • Placing restrictions on contact or travel
  • Alerting the Passport Agency and Embassy to prevent the issuing of new passports or visas
  • Alerting ports, airports and border agents and circulating a picture and details of the
    child at risk

Where abduction is already suspected we can respond appropriately according to the circumstances:

If your child has been taken to a country within the European Union, a country that has signed up to the Hague Convention or that has entered into an agreement with the UK, we can liaise with the appropriate organisations including the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit to seek that your child is automatically returned.

If your child has been taken to a country where no such legislative safeguards exist, we can make an application for an order for Wardship. We can then seek various orders to try to locate your child and secure your child’s return, such as the High Court Tipstaff being appointed, foreign Embassies being invited to assist, an order for passports to be seized on re-entry to the country, freezing of assets, declarations of habitual residence and wrongful removal etc. We also work with local experts to determine how best to proceed under those country’s specific laws.


Because we know that it can be hard to find time, where possible we offer flexible appointments to suit you. Our Sheffield office opens until 7.00pm every Wednesday to accommodate late appointments.

All of our offices offer a free 30 minute pre-booked initial appointment on your first visit with us. 

The Child Abduction team

The Child Abduction team are part of the Family Law department at Howells.

The Howells team is one of the best in the country. It has been consistently highly ranked for family work in the north, and is overseen by the hugely respected and much admired Alyson Siddall. Alyson has developed a group of many talents but with shared values. Tough and resolute in their legal representation, sensitive and compassionate in their client relationships, the team understand that they’re not dealing with ‘cases’ but with people, not bound up in legal process but in real lives.

Chambers UK 2018
Howells was highly ranked as a law firm for Family Law by Chambers UK 2018. The prestigious guide said Howells is “Increasingly active in dealing with high net worth cases and child abduction cases over the past year. Bolstered by a designated mediation and collaborative law group.”

Legal 500 2018
The Legal 500 2018 ranks the Family department highly and states that Howells is “Howells handles the full spectrum of matrimonial work and children law matters. Alyson Siddall is ‘hugely experienced but always still keen to learn’, and heads the department which benefits from individuals based across Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley. Siddall is regularly instructed in complex financial arrangements and has additional expertise in private children matters and collaborative law. Sharon Lockwood is another key name to note for financial work, while Sarah Walker is highlighted for childcare matters.”

Please click here to view the family law department staff profiles.