HC Deb 09 February 1983 vol 36 c382W
18. Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many cases he is aware of where children have been taken by one parent, against the wishes of the other, to countries with which the United Kingdom has no formal channels to institute proceedings for their return.

Mr. Hurd

Over the past year the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has given advice in 42 cases in which children have been taken abroad by one parent against the wishes of the other.

In all cases it is for the courts of the country where the children are to decide which parent should be given custody. It is up to the aggrieved parent to decide, on the basis of legal advice, what action he or she should take. But the Foreign and Commonweath Office will give whatever useful help it can to parents who face problems of this kind. To this end we have issued new guidance to our consular posts.