Increase In Parental Child Abduction From UK


8:26am UK, Wednesday June 29, 2011

The numer of abductions of British children by parents who then take them abroad has risen by 10% in the past year – prompting a campaign to combat the problem.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said the latest figures show one British child is taken every two days – a total of 161 in 2010/11.

The number taken to countries that have not signed up to an international treaty designed to ensure the return of minors who are wrongfully removed from the UK was up from 146 and 105 in the previous two years.

And it is feared the numbers may be even higher because of those that go unreported.

Countries that have not signed up to the 1980 Hague Convention are not compelled to abide by a UK court order.

The most obvious warning sign is a break down in a relationship but other signs may include a sudden interest in getting a passport or copy birth certificate for the child; a parent expressing a wish to holiday alone with the child.

FCO minister Jeremy Browne hopes the campaign will help people understand what they can do if they think their child may be at risk.

“The latest figures suggest the problem affects people from all walks of life and not just certain types of families or particular countries,” Mr Browne said.

“Finding a solution can be especially difficult if a child has been taken to a non-Hague country as there are no international systems in place to help you.

“This is why prevention is so important. The FCO will do whatever we can to provide advice and support but our role is limited, not least because we cannot interfere in the laws of another country.”

A child's bike

Evidence shows many abductions happen around school holidays when a parent refuses to return a child following a visit to the parent’s home country.

The problem has become widespread, with figures last year showing the FCO handled cases in 97 “non-Hague” countries ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

The message will be passed through websites Mumsnet and the Fatherhood Institute to spread the prevention message and make people aware of the support it can provide.

Sharon Cooke, from Reunite International Child Abduction Centre, said while sometimes there were no warning signs, there were things people could look for which might indicate their child was at risk.

“The most obvious warning sign is a breakdown in a relationship,” she said.

Jeremy Browne MP

FCO minister Jeremy Browne is backing the scheme

“Other signs may include a sudden interest in getting a passport or copy birth certificate for the child; a parent expressing a wish to holiday alone with the child; a change in circumstances such as leaving employment or redundancy, selling a house or giving up tenancy.

“There may also be a sudden change in contact arrangements or constant difficulty in being able to see the child.”

She added: “There’s often a perception – fuelled by a number of high profile cases – that it’s about fathers abducting their children.

“However, statistics show it is mainly mothers – either intentionally or unintentionally.

“The psychological impact on children can be traumatic and for the left-behind parent, the shock and loss are unbearable, particularly if they don’t know where their child is.”

:: Anyone worried their child might be at risk, or whose child has been abducted, can call the Child Abduction Section at the Foreign Office on 0207 008 0878.

People can also log on to the FCO’s website or contact Reunite on 0116 2556 234.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

Parental Kidnapping – What to Do When the Other Parent Will Not Return the Child


I hope you never need this article. Very rarely does it happen, but there are times that one parent goes off the deep end and decides that the Orders of the Court are not meant for them.

Children are taken out of school, hidden at relatives’ homes, and secreted from the “custodial” parent. (In this context custodial means the parent who should have that child during that time frame or the parent with the majority contact time.)

The first step is to make sure that the current Order is clear and specific enough to be enforceable. Whether law enforcement will assist when one parent violates a court ordered contact schedule has a lot to do with how clearly written it is. Even with the most clearly written order there are times that law enforcement will not want to get involved. This is when the Court needs to be contacted. Emergency Motions are some of the most overused motions around.

Judges hate them because 1) everyone wants to call every bad situation an emergency and domestic cases are nothing but bad situations and 2) because they are being asked to make decisions without letting the other side tell their story. If there is a remedy for the violation (if that parent should not have had this two weeks of summer, but the judge could take other time away from the offender without harm to the child) short of asking the Judge to take the child via police, that is the road to go down. Judges can punish violations with Orders for attorneys fees, extra time for the other parent, moving to supervised or having other parameters or limitations…without having to traumatize a child with a ride in a police car.

If there is no remedy that will truly keep the child safe, in the event of escalating obvious mental health issues and increasingly bold violations..the Court can enter a Pick Up Order. This court order will describe the child and the parent who has them wrongfully, and it will authorize the police to pick the child up. The Order should be drafted to include all the places the child could reasonably be, with the most obvious listed first.

The Order may indicate that law enforcement is authorized to enter a home in order to find the child, and that they can do this at any hour. Without this provision, most law enforcement agencies are going to “stake out” a home only. If the person has taken the child to other locations, it may be necessary to hire a PI to attempt to find them and then call in law enforcement to pick up the child..many police agencies are just too overworked to spend days or even hours trying to hunt up parents who have stolen their children.

Ultimately, there are remedies in these situations, but the process can take a while and can be scary in the meantime. It is important to understand that long term, the parents who follow court orders, who show respect to the Judge’s determinations and work within the system will long term get much better results. Once a parent pushes things to the point of requiring this type of action, they have usually lost the Judge’s trust and are working against themselves.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3651962

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

Plan to sign Hague Convention welcome but children’s best interests should come first


Source: The Mainichi Daily News
Japan’s new policy of signing the Hague Convention that stipulates the treatment of children from failed international marriages in custody disputes has been approved by Cabinet ministers, with Prime Minister Naoto Kan planning to announce the decision at a G8 Summit set to take place in France on May 26 and 27.

Officially called the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or the Hague Abduction Convention, the treaty went into effect in 1983, and counts 84 countries, primarily in the West, as its signatories.

According to the Hague Convention, if a child is removed from their country of habitual residence and a parent petitions for the child’s return to that country, the government of the country to where the child has been taken has the responsibility of cooperating with the child’s return and in negotiations for talks between the respective parents’ parties.

Japan has been facing increasing pressure from Western nations to sign the treaty because of a significant number of cases in which Japanese mothers removed their children from other countries and returned to Japan. The Japanese Foreign Ministry has set up opportunities for periodic consultation with parties from both the U.S. and France — citizens of which Japan nationals have shown to have a great number of custody disputes — and have consulted on a total of 130 individual cross-border custody cases.

In some cases, bringing a child back to Japan without consent from the other parent has resulted in parents facing charges of abduction. That many such parents claim to be victims of domestic violence complicates these cases even further, and such allegations of abuse make the argument that joining the convention raises concerns for the protection of Japanese citizens and goes against the child’s interests understandable.

Meanwhile, Japanese partners whose children have been removed from Japan have pushed for Japan to sign the treaty, with hopes that it would help resolve their own custody disputes.

The Hague Convention includes special exemptions, including one that states that a child does not have to be returned to their country of habitual residence in cases where doing so would pose a great risk of physical or emotional pain for them. This exemption is key.

According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, of the approximately 800 cases of child custody suits around the world in which a parent is seeking the child’s return, the abovementioned exemption has been permitted in 30 percent of cases — ruling that the children did not have to be returned.

These special cases include those in which there remain the chances of a mother becoming a victim of domestic violence if she and her child were to return to their country of habitual residence; or if the child were to return on their own but would suffer if separated from the mother; or in cases in which the child cannot be expected to receive sufficient care upon return. From these cases, it is apparent that courts of various countries around the world are taking a relatively flexible approach to the convention.

Signing the convention and searching for solutions based on internationally-recognized rules is an unavoidable path for Japan. Yet, we must protect our citizens based on the actual nature of each case in a way that adheres with the treaty.

Whether or not a child brought to Japan should be returned to their previous country of residence will be decided by Japanese courts based on the law. The government is set to add a provision to its Hague-Convention bill indicating that in cases that involve allegations of child abuse or of domestic violence by one partner against another, the child can be stopped from being returned to their country of habitual residence.

One of the major factors at the base of cross-border custody disputes is the difference in how custody is perceived. Joint custody is common in many of the convention’s signatory nations, with children often going back and forth between their divorced parents. In Japan, however, sole custody is more common, and is often granted to the mother.

As the number of international marriages continues to rise, we must think about what really constitutes our children’s best interests.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook