EU: Brexit could increase rate of ‘parental abductions’


She explained that some foreign parents want to maximise their chances of being able to return home with the children if things don’t work out

source

BREXIT could cause a spike in the number of parents abducting their children, experts claim.

eu-flagThe uncertainty brought about by the referendum vote has lead to a ‘significant increase’ in the number of parents in unstable relationships seeking advice about their rights to relocate or to prevent the other parent from travelling because they are worried they may not come back with the children, said Cara Nuttall, partner at JMW Solicitors.

“We’ve also seen a rise in disputes about applications for foreign nationality and travel documents for children entitled to dual citizenship in fragile international families.”

She explained that some foreign parents want to maximise their chances of being able to return home with the children if things don’t work out, while British parents want to make it harder for them to do so.

 “The inevitable temptation is to consider taking matters into their own hands, and just go.”
If you have any questions or concerns regarding a child abducted to, or from the EU please feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

EU: Brexit could lead to rise in parental child abductions, warn legal experts


‘One year on from the referendum, it is clear it is having an impact on family life’

source

eu-referendum

Brexit could lead to a rise in the number of parents abducting their children and taking them overseas, a law firm has claimed.

Lawyers said the firm had already seen a spike in inquiries from parents about disputes over travel plans and applications for dual citizenship, as well as fears their children would not be returned home from overseas visits.

Cara Nuttall, who specialises in matters relating to children, including abductions, said her firm JMW Solicitors, had received 30 per cent more inquiries in the three months to the end of June compared with the same period last year.

“One year on from the referendum, it is clear that Brexit is having an impact on family life where one or both parents is from the EU,” she said.

“We have seen a significant increase over recent weeks in the number of parents in rocky relationships or who are already separated or divorced seeking advice about their rights to relocate, or to stop the other parent from travelling because they are scared they may not come back with the children.

Ms Nuttall, a partner at the Manchester-based firm, added: ”We have also seen a rise in disputes about applications for foreign nationality and travel documents for children entitled to dual citizenship in fragile international families.

“Some foreign parents feel strongly they want to maximise their chances of being able to return home if things don’t work out, while British parents are concerned about them doing exactly that, and want to make it harder for them to take the children should they wish to do so.”

She also warned it expected to see even more of these cases over the summer months.

She said: “It is clear that the uncertainty caused by Brexit has led to discussions in these families about the future, leaving some parents feeling extremely vulnerable when they realise they have diverging views.

“It seems some foreign nationals are not certain they want to remain here in the long term, especially against a backdrop of anti-European feeling. They’re worried that if they don’t go soon, they may end up stuck here if they want to see their children grow up.

“The inevitable temptation is to consider taking matters into their own hands and just go.”

Ms Nuttall said the framework in place to deal with parental abductions in Europe might not stay in place after Brexit.

She said: “We simply do not know what the replacement measures will be, nor how well they will work.”

Criminal law commissioner Professor David Ormerod QC said the laws to prevent child abductions were not “fit for purpose”.

“At least 300 British children a year are unlawfully retained overseas and the problem is growing,” he said.

“Whatever the implications of Brexit, we’d urge Parliament to consider our recommendations to double the maximum sentences for these offences to 14 years’ imprisonment and to close a legal loophole around the wrongful detention of children abroad.”

It comes as multiple reports suggested the UK would maintain free movement for EU citizens for up to four years after Brexit.

Theresa May is ready to offer free movement for two years, according to The Times, while The Guardian quoted a senior cabinet source as saying the period could last for three or even four years.

Philip Hammond was said to be confident he has won support within the Cabinet for a transition to prevent disruption to business caused by a sudden “cliff-edge” move to new arrangements on 29 March 2019, when Britain is set to leave the EU.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding a child abducted to, or from the EU please feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

EU: Brexit ‘will lead to rise in child abductions’


Brexit challenge

source

More parents could abduct their children and take them abroad because of Brexit, a law firm has claimed.

Cara Nuttall, a partner at JMW Solicitors, said the firm had already seen a spike in enquiries from parents scared that their children would not be returned home from overseas visits by their co-parent.

There has also been a spike in enquiries about disputes over travel plans and applications for dual citizenship, where one parent is from the EU.

She said the Manchester-based firm had received 30% more enquiries of that nature in the three months to the end of June, compared with the same period last year.

Brexit 'will lead to rise in child abductions'
It’s unclear if the EU’s anti-abduction framework 

‘One year on from the referendum, it’s clear that Brexit is having an impact on family life where one or both parents is from the EU,’ Nuttall said.

‘We have seen a significant increase over recent weeks in the number of parents in rocky relationships, or who are already separated or divorced, seeking advice about their rights to relocate or to stop the other parent from travelling because they are scared they may not come back with the children.

‘We’ve also seen a rise in disputes about applications for foreign nationality and travel documents for children entitled to dual citizenship in fragile international families.

‘Some foreign parents feel strongly they want to maximise their chances of being able to return home if things don’t work out, while British parents are concerned about them doing exactly that, and want to make it harder for them to take the children should they wish to do so.’

Brexit 'will lead to rise in child abductions'
Enquiries are likely to go up as we near the 2019 deadline for leaving the EU (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)

Nuttall said the firm expected to see even more of these cases over the summer months, and increasingly as we approach the 2019 deadline for leaving the EU.

She continued: ‘It’s clear that the uncertainty caused by Brexit has led to discussions in these families about the future, leaving some parents feeling extremely vulnerable when they realise they have diverging views.

‘It seems some foreign nationals are not certain they want to remain here in the long-term, especially against a backdrop of anti-European feeling.

‘They’re worried that if they don’t go soon, they may end up stuck here if they want to see their children grow up. The inevitable temptation is to consider taking matters into their own hands, and just go.’

There is a framework in place to deal with parental abductions across Europe, but it only applies to the EU. So, after we leave the union, that vital framework may not stay in place.

‘We simply do not know what the replacement measures will be, nor how well they will work,’ Nuttall warned.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding a child abducted to, or from the EU please feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

Europol: Italian mafia poses big threat to European economy


June 25 , 2013

Source: Europol

The EU police agency, Europol, Monday launched A report titled “Threat Assessment on Italian Organised Crime” which was carried out to evaluate the impact of mafia structures based in Italy on the European Union. Read the report here

Italian_Mafia

The assessment, which is the result of two years of work by intelligence analysts at Europol, underlines how the main Italian organised crime groups (principally ‘Cosa Nostra’, the ‘Camorra’ and the ‘Ndrangheta’) are operating worldwide but are careful to keep a very low profile, making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to detect their presence, said Europol in a statement.

“The Italian mafia-style groups are among the most threatening in Europe and in order to fight them, a pan-European approach is needed. Those of us in the law enforcement community need to step up our cooperation in tackling the most dangerous criminal groups,” said Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol which is based at the Hague in the Netherlands.

Domenico-Raccuglia

The main criminal activities of these groups are money laundering and large-scale drug trafficking. However, they are also involved in corruption, counterfeiting and the trafficking of toxic waste.
In these times of economic crisis, the immense assets that organised crime groups have at their disposal (the Calabrian Ndrangheta are estimated to generate illicit revenues of up to 44 billion euros a year) make it easy for these groups to infiltrate the legitimate economy, injecting much-needed liquidity into struggling businesses, noted the statement.

The criminals’ ‘expansion strategies’ mean that they are now touching parts of Italy and Europe not historically affected by organised crime, which could cause serious damage to the EU economy in the long run, added the statement.

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Europol identifies 3600 Organised Crime Groups active in the European Union (SOCTA 2013 Report)


April 6, 2013

Source: Europol

In the most detailed study ever undertaken of its kind in the European law enforcement community Europol has identified an estimated 3,600 organised crime groups currently active in the EU. The EU Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA), published by Europol today, found that international drug trafficking remains the most active organised crime activity but it also identified the emergence of new criminal phenomena, many linked to the current economic crisis and the internet.  These new developments are changing the nature of organised crime towards a model based around a networked community of heterogeneous, international groups.

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“A new breed of organised crime groups is emerging in Europe, capable of operating in multiple countries and criminal sectors. These groups are no longer defined by their nationality or specialisation in one area of crime but by an ability to operate on an international basis, with a business-like focus on maximising profit and minimising risk. They are the epitome of our new globalised society,” says Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol.

The 2013 Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA) delivers a set of recommendations based on an in-depth analysis of the major crime threats facing the EU. The report draws on significant intelligence collected from law enforcement agencies in the EU Member States, other EU Agencies, and Europol’s own databases.  The Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers will use the report’s findings and recommendations to define priorities for the next four years.

Based on analysis of the prevailing threats the SOCTA 2013 has identified the crime areas which require the greatest concerted action by EU Member States and other actors to ensure the most effective impact on the general threat. These threats include crime areas that have recently gained significance or were not regarded as priority areas earlier, but now stand out against other crime threats because of their impact on society.  The priorities identified in the report are:

  • Facilitation of illegal immigration
  • Trafficking in human beings
  • Counterfeit goods with an impact on public health and safety
  • Missing Trader Intra Community (MTIC) fraud
  • Synthetic drugs production and poly-drug trafficking in the EU
  • Cybercrime
  • Money laundering

The conditions of the current economic crisis and resulting changes in consumer demand are fuelling a shift in serious criminal activity.  Reduced consumer spending power has inspired counterfeiters to expand into new product lines such as commodity counterfeiting, illicit trade in sub-standard goods and goods violating health and safety regulations. In addition to the traditional counterfeiting of luxury products, organised crime groups are now also counterfeiting daily consumer goods including foods and medical products. The increased production and distribution of these goods have significant implications for public health and safety.

Meanwhile other forms of economic crime, especially fraud, have grown in scale and impact.  Missing Trader Intra Community (MTIC) fraud, which derives from a manipulation of the VAT tax regime, is responsible for the loss of billions of Euros each year in the government revenues of Member States, illustrating the extent to which organised crime harms the economy.

Money seized by German customs agency Zoll during anti-money laundering operation is displayed before agency's annual statistics news conference in Berlin

“The fight against organised crime has big implications for the EU’s ability to secure an effective economic recovery.  Through a recent expansion of the ‘black market’ and notable developments in fraudulent activity criminal groups are denying governments, businesses, and citizens billions of Euros each year in lost tax receipts, profits, and private income.  Stronger action is needed in the EU to close down these criminal activities and protect our economic base,” says Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol.

The internet is also a major driver of criminal activity, enabling organised crime groups to access a large pool of victims, obscure their activities and carry out a diverse range of criminal acts in a shorter period of time and on a much larger scale than ever before. The spread of the internet and technological advances have caused significant shifts in crime areas and the pattern of criminal activity.

The SOCTA 2013 report is Europol’s flagship product providing information to Europe’s law enforcement community and decision-makers about the threat of serious and organised crime to the EU. The report exists in two versions a restricted for law enforcement and a public version which is available in the Europol publications section of their website.

EU crime gangs find new ways to make money in bad times

 

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Ireland: Department handled up to 200 child abduction cases


Source: Irishtimes

INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL child abduction cases involving almost 200 children were dealt with by the Department of Justice last year.

The department’s central authority for child abduction received 142 new applications last year, some involving more than one child.

This is the highest level of new cases since the authority was established almost 20 years ago and is two more cases than 2010.

Almost two-thirds (89) of the new cases concerned children being taken from the State to other countries.

Over two-thirds of these cases involved children taken from the State to the UK; 39 to England and Wales; 12 to Scotland; and 10 to Northern Ireland.

Eastern European countries accounted for more than a tenth of outgoing cases, most of these to Poland.

Children being taken to the State from the UK accounted for half of incoming abductions while Eastern European countries accounted for almost a third.

There were also 119 ongoing cases from previous years being dealt with by the department bringing the total to 261 applications.

Half of the incoming and outgoing abduction cases being dealt with were awaiting resolution.

Most of the cases were being dealt with under the Hague Convention with some under EU laws on child abduction.

The convention facilitates the return of children taken from one state to another against the wishes of a parent with custody rights.

Minister for Justice urged parents to take all steps to resolve differences. “Parental child abduction remains a constant problem. When family conflict occurs, it is important that estranged parents and spouses exhaust all their options to resolve differences and reach agreement in the best interests of the children involved,” he said.

Also read: 198 children here targeted in abductions

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Breaking News: Children in the European Union gain additional protection against international abduction


BRUSSELS, December 23, 2011 – Wednesday, the European Commission proposed the EU accept Russia and seven more countries as parties to an international convention designed to prevent child abduction. The 1980 Hague Convention ensures the prompt return of children abducted by one parent to their habitual country of residence and protects parental access rights.

International abduction by a parent is a global problem affecting several thousand children each year. Wednesday’s move will effectively extend protection for children in the EU to eight new countries: Russia, Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Gabon, Morocco, Seychelles and Singapore. The Convention has been ratified by 86 countries to date, including all EU members.

“Preventing child abduction is an essential part of the EU’s agenda for children’s rights,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner. “We already have strict rules in place to ensure abducted children can be returned and disputes swiftly solved within the EU. By welcoming Russia and others as EU counterparts under this international agreement, we can make sure children are similarly protected at a global level as well.”

If one parent in an abduction case comes from outside the EU, the Hague Convention only applies if that parent’s country of origin is a member of the Convention. All EU Member States are party to the Convention and the European Commission actively promotes membership of the Convention at an international level so that children in the EU can be better protected worldwide.

This multilateral treaty does not seek to adjudicate in custody cases, but provides for a procedure whereby an abducted child can be returned promptly to his or her home country. Once sent back, the child’s local authorities can determine where and with whom the child should live. The Convention is also designed to secure protection for rights of access.

If a parent abducts a child within the EU, the so-called Brussels IIa Regulation (Council Regulation 2201/2003) imposes strict obligations to ensure the return of the child. Under the Regulation, the courts in the EU Member State to which the child has been abducted cannot refuse an order to return a child to the Member State of origin.

Data recently collected shows that the Regulation works well: in general, child abduction disputes between EU Member States are solved in a much more efficient and swift manner, thanks notably to the removal of the cumbersome ‘exequatur’ procedure. This means a shorter period for courts to recognise and enforce judgements from another Member State.

Article 38(4) of the 1980 Convention stipulates that the Convention applies between the acceding country and Contracting States that declare their acceptance of the accession. Therefore, the European Union has to decide whether to accept the accession of Russia and other countries.

As the matter of international child abduction falls into the exclusive external competence of the European Union, the decision whether the EU, via its Member States, should accept other countries’ accession to the 1980 Convention has to be taken by means of a Council Decision.

In February 2011, the Commission presented an EU agenda for reinforcing the rights of the child by putting the principles of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights into practice. It includes a series of concrete actions where the EU can provide added value to policies for children’s well-being and safety, including promoting child-friendly justice, better informing children about their rights, and making the internet safer for kids.

For more information: International Parental Child Abduction: The Hague convention – Proved Useless

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