International Child Abduction

Contacting the Central Authority

The first thing to do when your child has been abducted, is to contact the Central Authority in your country. They will take the first necessary actions and contact the Central Authority in the country where your child is now located.

The duties and powers of the Central Authorities are:

  • Determine where a child is located;
  • Prevent the child from being exposed to new dangers or harming the interests of the parties involved, by taking or causing provisional measures to be taken;
  • Ensuring that the child is voluntarily returned or an amicable settlement is reached;
  • If it turns out to be desirable, exchange information regarding the social circumstances of the child;
  • Provide general explanations regarding national law concerning the application of the Convention;
  • Initiate judicial or administrative proceedings to facilitate the return of the child or promote the initiation of such proceedings, and, if necessary, allow the settlement or the actual exercise of access rights;
  • Provide legal assistance and legal advice or promote its provision, including the assistance of counsel;
  • Ensure that, if necessary and appropriate, such administrative measures are taken that the child can return without danger keep each other informed about the operation of the treaty and remove as many obstacles as possible to its application.

Before the Central Authority of your country will contact the other Central Authority, they will check a few things:

  • The age and habitual residence of the child;
  • The date on which the abduction started: the date on which the actual transfer of the child took place or the date on which the withholding of the child started;
  • The relationship of parental authority (custody);
  • Whether or not there was consent.

The Central Authority will always emphasize the benefits for both parties and the children to find an amicable solution through mediation. The way mediation is arranged differs per country. In the Netherlands Mediation Bureau is part of Centrum IKO.

If the remaining parent is in the Netherlands, you can use this form from the Dutch Ministry of Justice, to file a request at the Dutch Central Authority.


We would be happy to help you inform the central authority and correctly fill in the form. We would like to provide you with information and advice prior to and during mediation.

Contact us to find out how we can help you with your case.