Concerns about a child abroad – notifying, etc.

The Hague Convention on Child Protection offers various ways to cooperate directly with contracting states in cases where municipalities for example have concerns about children abroad.

Among other things, Danish municipalities have the option to request a report on the child’s situation, to ask the foreign authorities to consider the need to implement protection measures for a child, or to send information to the relevant foreign authorities.

Request for locating assistance – Article 31(c)

Article 31 of the convention contains the possibility of requesting the authorities in another state for assistance in locating the whereabouts of a child if the child may be present in the state concerned and is in need of protection.

Request for a report on the child’s situation or the implementation of protection measures – Article 32

If a competent authority in Denmark, such as a municipality, is concerned about a child who lives abroad and who has a substantial connection to Denmark, the authority can ask for information about the child or they can request the foreign competent authority to consider whether there is a need to take measures for the protection of the child under Article 32.

Under Article 32(a), a competent authority can request a report on the situation of the child. Under Article 32(b), a competent authority can ask the authorities in the state of the child’s habitual residence to consider whether there is a need to take protection measures for the child.

Questions pertaining to the transmitting of information are handled in accordance with the law in the state receiving the request.

Read more about the exchange of information here

Informing authorities abroad that a child is in serious danger – Article 36

Article 36 contains an obligation to notify the authorities in other states if an authority considers that a child abroad is in serious danger.

This means that if a Danish municipality or another relevant authority considers that a child who is present abroad is in serious danger, then the municipality must notify the relevant authorities in the country concerned. This applies to situations in which measures have been taken in Denmark for the protection of the child or where such measures were under consideration before the child then subsequently took up residence abroad. The municipality must notify the foreign authorities about their concern and the measures taken or under consideration.

It is not a requirement under Article 36 of the convention that the notification is sent through a central authority. Under the rules of the convention, an authority can notify the relevant social authorities in the country directly, taking other legislation into account.

Article 36 also applies in cases where the child is present in a state that is not a contracting state of the convention.

When sending notifications, the municipality must take the rules on the exchange of information and the GDPR into consideration. Pursuant, inter alia, to Article 37 of the convention, an authority cannot request or transmit information under this chapter if it considers that doing so would be likely to place the child's person or property in danger, or constitute a serious threat to the liberty or life of a member of the child's family.

Read more about the exchange of information and the GDPR here