Child Abduction

The crime of child abduction is included in the chapter on crimes against family rights and duties and is specifically regulated in the article 225bis of the Penal Code. This article punishes the parent who, without just cause, takes away his or her minor child with a prison sentence of two to four years and special disqualification from exercising parental rights for a period of four to ten years.

The main issue with this type of crime is determining what is considered an abduction in criminal terms. The aforementioned article considers the following conduct as abduction:

– The removal of a minor from his or her habitual place of residence without the consent of the other parent or of the persons or institutions entrusted with his or her care or custody.

– The retention of a minor in serious breach of the duty established by judicial or administrative decision.

The legislator punishes child abduction crimes more severely when the child in question is taken out of Spain. However, if the offense has been committed, there is a way of avoiding imprisonment. In cases where the place of stay is communicated to the other parent within twenty-four hours of the abduction with a commitment of immediate return and in cases where the absence has not exceeded twenty-four hours, the offender will be exempted from punishment.