Our specialist team of solicitors at Lawtons can assist with any case relating to the abduction or kidnapping of a child.

At Lawtons we have worked on a number of these complex cases and we have the necessary expertise to achieve the best possible outcome in your individual case.

What is the difference between abduction and kidnapping?

UK law distinguishes clearly between acts of abduction and kidnap. Abduction is defined as taking a person or child away from their home and family by means of deception or force. Kidnapping is defined by law as taking someone unwillingly and keeping them illegally imprisoned without their valid consent. The latter is normally done with motive, such as financial gain in the form of a ransom.

Consent which is obtained by fear or force will not be considered as true or valid consent by law.

To be successfully prosecuted, both acts must demonstrate that the person kidnapped or abducted was taken without their valid consent and held unlawfully against their will.

What is the difference between kidnap and false imprisonment?

The offence of false imprisonment is related to the offence of kidnap, but it differs in that for kidnap to take place, the victim must be physically carried away rather than simply detained.

What is the penalty for kidnapping and abduction?

Kidnap and abduction are serious criminal offences which can only be heard in the crown court.

The sentence for an act of kidnap or abduction will depend on a number of factors.

If the offence is regarded as minor – such as as a result of a family dispute – the sentence will reflect the level of severity. A parent taking custody of their child could be found guilty of the criminal offence of kidnap if they are in breach of a court order.

If the act was planned or violent, or a firearm was used, the offence is deemed to be more severe, with a sentence of around 8 years in prison.

Factors which will be considered when a sentence is decided for kidnap or abduction include:

  1. Any attacks on the victim’s person (including assault and rape)
  2. The level of violence used in the act
  3. Whether the victim was taken across a country border

If a child was the victim of the kidnap or abduction, the offence will be tried under the Child Abduction Act 1984. This is particularly prevalent if the child is taken out of the United Kingdom without the permission or consent of their parent or legal guardian.

What to do if you are accused of abduction or kidnapping

If you have been accused of kidnap or abduction, it is essential to consult a specialist criminal solicitor as soon as you are able to do so. An experienced solicitor will have the necessary experience and knowledge to advise you in this complex area of the law.

For more information or to discuss your individual case with our team of specialist solicitors, please get in touch or call us on 0333 577 0522.


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