Parental kidnapping and parental abduction in Poland

Parental kidnapping and parental abduction in Poland

Parental kidnapping and parental abduction are two different situations related to taking a child by a parent.

Parental kidnapping occurs when a parent with full parental rights takes a child without the consent of the other parent. On the other hand, parental abduction occurs when a child is taken by a parent who has been deprived of parental rights, has had their rights suspended, or by a third party.

In the case of parental kidnapping, the situation may arise when one of the parents (having full parental authority) leaves the shared place of residence with the child without informing the other parent. Unfortunately, such behavior is not considered a crime under Polish law. There is no legal basis for police intervention. However, if the taking or holding of the child by the other parent (with full parental authority) is associated with a lack of information about the current whereabouts of the child, it seems reasonable to report it to the police, as such a situation may be a basis for searching for the child due to their ‘disappearance’ and lack of contact.

The solution in this case is to file a request with the Polish court to determine the child’s place of residence. It also seems appropriate to submit other requests (even in the same letter), such as depriving this parent of parental authority or securing the child during the proceedings, etc.

As a rule, each parent is entitled and obliged to exercise parental authority. However, parental authority should not be abused, and restricting or prohibiting a child’s contact with the other parent through parental kidnapping is especially unacceptable.

Parental abduction, on the other hand, is a violation of criminal law (Article 211 of the Penal Code): ‘Whoever, against the will of a person responsible for care or supervision, abducts or detains a minor under 15 years of age or a person incapable due to their mental or physical condition, is subject to imprisonment for up to 3 years.’

Unlike parental kidnapping, parental abduction can be reported to the police. It is a crime prosecuted ex officio.

The solution in such cases is to file a court application for taking the child away, and if the child’s place of residence is unknown, to determine it.

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