This week BBC’s Northwest Tonight featured the tragic plight of a local mother whose young daughter had been abducted by her father and taken to Pakistan more than two years ago. Despite spending time in prison in the UK for contempt of court the father still refuses to disclose the child’s whereabouts.

Our colleague Louise Halford, an expert in child abduction, appeared on the programme to explain the legal minefield faced by parents in these circumstances. There are particular difficulties where, as in this case, the country to which the child is taken is not a signatory to the Hague convention which has an agreed mechanism for returning children quickly.

Louise emphasised that it is vital for any parent fearing that their child may be taken abroad to act immediately so that steps can be taken to prevent it happening.

If the worst does happen the parent should seek expert advice on the action needed as quickly as possible.