Child Abduction as an Offence

In addition to taking civil action the parent may report the abduction to the police. Note, however, that criminal proceedings may make it considerably harder to accomplish a voluntary return of the child. In other countries child abduction is not always an offence, even though it is regarded as such in Finland.

The child abductor may be guilty of an offence against personal liberty subject to punishment according to the Penal Code. The offences against personal liberty are laid down in Chapter 25 of the Code. Section 5a "Abduction of a Child" is primarily relevant in this context. According to this provision, whoever takes a child arbitrarily into custody and removes the child from its country of residence to a foreign country or fails to return the child to its state of residence renders himself guilty of child abduction. The punishment for the offence is a fine or imprisonment for at most two years.

In addition, the abductor may be guilty of a more serious offence against personal liberty, for instance of deprivation of liberty, aggravated deprivation of liberty or hostage taking.