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'We invite the Law Commission to address the question whether cases where children are removed from one parent by the other should be treated as kidnapping offences. In the meantime, in any event, pending any possible change to the substantive law, there are cases falling within the child abduction offence which merit a sentence greater than the maximum current sentence of 7 years imprisonment after a trial. We recommend that the maximum sentence for child abduction should be increased.'In brief, the problem is that very serious instances of child abduction are tantamount to kidnapping but cannot attract the levels of punishment that would be meted out for a conviction for that offence. Further, the current common law offence of kidnapping requires, in every case that the defendant took the victim by force or fraud. This requirement means that kidnapping will not always be available in a case of parental child abduction.
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