The number of children abducted and taken abroad by an estranged parent has risen by 88% in just under a decade, according to new government figures, reports the BBC.
About 270 new cases were reported in 2003-4, while this year so far there have been more than 500 new cases, data from the Foreign Office (FCO) showed.
It is illegal for a parent to take a child overseas without permission from others with parental responsibility.
But 24% of Britons are unaware it is a crime, separate FCO research suggested.
The FCO has launched a campaign to highlight the issue.
"We know that before or during school holidays is one of the most common times for a child to be abducted," said Daisy Organ, the head of the FCO's child abduction section. "We hope that this campaign will help inform and educate the UK public and encourage parents thinking of abducting their child to think twice before they cause significant distress to themselves and their family."
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