Innocent and Forgotten: Arresting Mothers and the Consequences for their Children

P.J.H. ter Vrugt*, D.L.F. de Vocht

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The arrest of a mother may have far reaching consequences for her child(ren). This article discusses the question whether in Dutch criminal proceedings these potential effects are sufficiently taken into account before, during and after the mother's arrest. In order to answer this question, the potential negative effects the arrest may have on the children involved will be discussed. Next, attention will be paid to the international and European legal frameworks and their relevance for arresting mothers. The right of the child to be informed about the arrest, and European case law concerning the arrest of parents in the presence of their children, will be discussed. Finally, a critical analysis will be given of how the arrest of mothers is dealt with according to Dutch law and practice. Practical experiences will be drawn from fieldwork conducted in two Dutch detention centres.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-549
Number of pages28
JournalThe International Journal of Children's Rights
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • arrest
  • parental rights
  • children's rights
  • human rights
  • police conduct

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