Has your child been abducted?
Are you concerned that your child might be abducted?
Did you and your child travel to Finland from abroad without the other parent or legal guardian’s knowledge?
Call our helpline: 044 2626662! From Monday through Friday the phone is answered by our employees and during the weekend it is answered by the association’s volunteers.
Help can also be received via chat! Individual help is received via the chat at www.apuaeroon.fi or via the chat function on our website.
In spring 2022 our employee is available on chat usually on
Thursdays 12:00-14:00. ( These are especially for questions in English)
The following aspects constitute an international child abduction:
- A child is taken to or retained in a foreign country without the consent of the person who has custody of the child
- The failure to return a child from abroad at the end of a period of the exercise of the right of access to this child or at the end of any other temporary stay in a territory other than that where the custody is exercised
- The child has been a permanent resident in Finland
- The child is under the age of 16
- Try to negotiate with the abductor, if you don’t succeed take the following measures.
- Which country has your child been abducted to? More than 90 countries have signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, also known as the Hague Abduction Convention. Review the list of countries; if your child has been abducted to one of the listed countries, contact the Ministry of Justice (switchboard: 02951 6001). They will help in regards to the return procedure.
- Has your child been abducted to a non-Hague Convention country? If so, contact the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (switchboard: 02952 6001). Contacting and negotiating with the abductor is something the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will help you with; finding a local lawyer and giving relevant information in regards to the country’s legislation is something the Ministry also helps you with.
- Call or go to the nearest police station and make a missing person report if you don’t know where you child is. This is something you can do regardless of the custody arrangements. Making a report of an offence committed by the abductor is also an option.
- If your child has been brought to Finland without your consent, contact your local authorities.
Help for assessing the threat of abduction
Common signs to watch out for which precede an abduction or the attempt of an abduction are listed below. The list was made by dozens of our members and people who have contacted us. The list is also used by policemen, lawyers and judges when assessing the threat of child abduction.
- A parent who has tried to or threatened to abduct a child. The person in question believes that the child is their property and thus belongs to them or their family, the other parent is seen as redundant.
- The parents have serious disagreements in matters that concern the child e.g., education, religion, health care and hobbies.
- The child’s parent is guilty of physical and or psychological domestic abuse, persecution or mistreatment of the child.
- The child is the parent’s only connection to Finland; they haven’t managed to integrate into the Finnish society, willingly or unwillingly.
- The parent has applied for travel documents for the child (e.g., passport, visa, identity card) without the knowledge of the other parent.
- The parent does not respect the decisions made by the Finnish authorities in regards to the child’s guardianship, care and visiting rights.
- The parent tries to obtain documents belonging to the child, documents such as: health certificates, birth record and school documents.
- Things that have not been considered important by the parent before, such as his or her language and culture is now brought to the child’s attention.
- Documents belonging to the parent are destroyed or hidden, forged documents may even be presented.
- The parent liquidises their assets, which then gets transferred to another country.
- Things such as the family home and the parents’ workplace are relinquished.
- Other reasons for why a parent might abduct their child is because the parent in question is e.g., about to receive a negative residence permit decision, the application for citizenship has been denied or the parent does not want to apply for citizenship, even though plans for leaving the country have not been discussed.
Do you need help in assessing the child abduction threat?
The following number can be called Monday through Friday: 044 2626 662; you can also send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help in assessing the child abduction threat you face. We would like to develop the list further; your input is greatly appreciated. Any input you may have can be sent to email@example.com.
The legislation includes various precautionary measures to minimize the threat of child abduction. Enough evidence of child endangerment or the threat of child abduction is needed if you decide to apply for judicial precautionary measures.
Judicial precautionary measures include:
Supervised visitation; the child’s guardian can demand that any communication between the child and the child’s other parent be supervised.
A restraining order; you can ask for a restraining order to be put in place against the child’s other parent if you strongly believe that he or she would commit a crime, which in turn would jeopardise the child’s health, freedom and or status quo.
Emergency placements can be considered in unexpected situations if there are reasonable grounds in suspecting child endangerment or child abduction.
Temporary but urgent precautionary measures are applicable in acute situations!
Interim orders in regards to custody, residence or visitation can be made if the child is threatened by an illegal action or when the purpose is to not return the child to their guardian, such as his or her removal from the country of residence.
Other measures to consider when protecting a child.
Informing the day-care centre, the childminder or the school that the child must not be handed over to anyone but you or someone authorized by you.
Filing a police report and asking for an indication in the passport register is something you can do if you suspect a threat of child abduction.
Reporting a child abduction threat and asking for an indication in the passport register is something you can do if you suspect a threat of child abduction.
Contacting the border guard or airport police is also an option.
Informing the nearest Finnish Embassy in the country of destination about a possible child abduction if you have not given your permission in regards to issuing a visa or another travel document to the country in question.
You can report an offence to the police.
Making a report of an offence to the police is something you can do.
If you do not know your child’s exact whereabouts, contacting the police and filing a missing person report is an option you have.
More about precautionary measures can be read from the information section.
An information package regarding international child abduction has been compiled by the Ministry of Justice as a first step for parents and as a guide for authorities. The information package on child abductions can be read on the oikeus.fi website.
The organisation Kaapatut Lapset ry helps and supports in difficult situations!
Helping and supporting children who are and who have been in different international child abduction situations, who have been threatened to be abducted and who have been in or who currently are in a difficult international custody dispute. Defending their basic human rights are important to us!
The information centre of the non-governmental organisation is called Toivon Talo. We inform, we give advice to parents, we arrange empowering and invigorating activities for the entire family and we coordinate different peer support groups. (Read more about peer support).
Help can also be received via the frequently asked questions on our website.
Kaapatut Lapset ry / Toivon Talo
Malmin Kauppatie 26, 4. krs.
Don’t be alone with your worries! We’ll help you!
This page contains the contact details for the Finnish authorities and different foreign organisations; the main goal for these organisations is to help children. If you for example need help contacting a lawyer in Finland, contacting a legal aid office, the Finnish Bar Association or Kaapatut Lapset will get you a step further.
Authorities and Legal Aid
Ministry of Justice
Unit for International Judicial Assistance
PL 25 00023 Valtioneuvosto
Tel. (02) 951 6001
Fax (09) 1606 7524
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Legal Service, Unit for Consular Assistance
PL 415, 00023 Valtioneuvosto
Tel. (09) 160 05
Fax (09) 1605 5755
The National Bureau of Investigation (Keskusrikospolisi)
PL 285, 01301 Vantaa
Tel. 071 878 0141
Faksi 071 878 6536
Online Police Report
Filing a police report which does not require immediate action from the police, such as petty crimes, is something you can do online.
The Act on Restraining Orders is meant to prevent crimes and make it easier to intervene in case of harassment. A restraining order helps in protecting your freedom, peace of mind, health and life from a person or people who wants to do you harm. It’s also possible to place a restraining order on someone who lives at the same address as you.
A lawyer can be found via the Finnish Bar Association’s search engine. You can limit your search by area of expertise by selecting “Family law, international”.
Public Legal Aid Offices
Legal aid can be received by phone: 0100 86200
Cross-Border Family Mediators
Mediators that specialise in child abductions
European e-Justice Portal
Answers on cross-border judicial questions
The European Parliament’s Coordinator on Children’s Rights
The Coordinator seeks to help people experiencing child abductions and other cross-border family disputes.
Information regarding supervised visitations can be found on the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare’s (Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos, THL) website.
Locations in the Apuaeroon.fi service
Information on child welfare.
Information in different languages:
Finnish, simple Finnish, English, Swedish, French, Russian, Somali, Arabic, Persian and Kurdish.
The Child Protection Handbook (Lastensuojelun käsikirja, not available in the English language).
The Child Protection Handbook is meant to help professionals who work in child welfare to develop their skills and to develop client services.
Child abduction or the threat of child abduction is always mentally-challenging. It’s important to remember to take care of one’s mental wellbeing and one’s family’s needs. Apart from Kaapatut Lapset ry, help and support is also given from the following organisations:
Victim Support Finland (Rikosuhripäivystys, RIKU)
The aim of Victim Support Finland is to improve the position of victims of crime, their loved ones and key witnesses in crime cases e.g., by producing low threshold support and guidance services.
The Crisis Helpline’s phone number (in Finnish) 09 2525 0113 is open daily
The Crisis Helplines phone number in Swedish (Kristelefon): 09 2525 0112
Monday and Wednesday 16.00 – 20.00
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9 and 13.
The Swedish and Arabic helplines offer help in English, too.
The Crisis Helpline’s phone number in Arabic: 09 2525 0113
Monday and Tuesday 11 – 15
Wednesday 13 – 16, 17 – 21
Thursday 10 – 15
Both the Swedish and Arabic helplines offer services in English.
24-hour social services in your municipality (e.g., urgent child welfare issues) and other social and healthcare authorities.
The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare (MLL)
Telephone counselling for children and youths: 116 111
Monday – Friday 14 – 20
Saturday – Sunday 17 – 20
The Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters (Ensi- ja turvakotien liitto)
Asemamiehenkatu 4 A, 7. krs
Tel. (09) 4542 440
Fax (09) 4542 4430
Email addresses: toimisto(at)ensijaturvakotienliitto.fi
More information regarding the mother and child shelters and where the nearest shelter is located
Organizations in different countries
Missing Children Europe
MiKK https://www.mikk-ev.de/ (Cross Border Family Mediation)
Spain: Fundación ANAR, www.anar.org
United Kingdom: Missing People; www.missingpeople.org.uk
Italy: SOS Il Telefono Azzurro; www.azzurro.it
Japan: Japan Children’s Rights Network; http://crnjapan.net
Poland: ITAKA; www.itaka.org
Sweden: Facebook group
Germany and France: Missing Children; www.kinder-nach-hause.de
Czech Republic: Cesta z krize, z. ú; www.cestazkrize.net
Other useful websites in English are listed below!
If you need more information about child abduction or family law, the links below may be of use to you and if you need information on a certain country, contacting the country’s embassy may be the next best thing.
- Information about child abduction in different countries
- Information about family law in different countries
- Database of Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (en, fr, es)
- Material about childrens rights from the Council of Europe
- Information about divorce and family law in different countries
- YMaterial about child abduction from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of USA
- British Non-profit orgganisation Reunite’s material about child abduction
- The International Society of Family Law
- Commission on European Family Law
- Mediate – Mediators & Everything Mediation
- International Expertice Center Childabduction.COM
- Tips to prevent child abduction on MissingKids.ca