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Canberra Family Law – International Missing Children’s Day highlights parental abduction

By June 4, 2015No Comments

Australia’s rates of parental abduction are again in the spotlight, as the world marked International Missing Children’s Day on May 25.  In conjunction with the global awareness campaign aimed at ‘spreading a message of hope’, the Australian Federal Police last week launched the local “Bring Them Home” campaign last week, aimed at increasing awareness of parental abduction cases in this country.

When a parent takes their children somewhere in contravention of court orders,  a parent, sometimes through the AFP, is issued a recovery order from the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. At present, around 400 such recovery orders are issued each year.  Many of these are domestic, ie a parent moving a child from Canberra to Perth for example. However, from these, around 70 orders involve children who are thought to have been taken out of Australia against one parent’s will.

Depending on which country the child is whisked away to, it can be very difficult to get the child back where there are no international arrangements in place via countries signing the relevant Hague Convention. Australia is a signatory, so it has obligations to assist parents of other countries to return children, but not all other countries are signatories, so won’t necessarily have arrangements in place to co-operate with Australia to return Australian children.

It can therefore be very important to try and stop children from leaving Australia in the first place. Usually, all family law matters are not able to be publicised. However, changes have now been made to how the AFP publicises cases of parental abduction because the overriding need to protect children from abduction outweighs the need to protect their confidentiality. Children who have been abducted by a parent are now listed under a dedicated ‘Family Court’ tab on the AFP’s website. Further, it is now possible for people with information on the missing child’s whereabouts to give such information anonymously.

The AFP encourages anyone with information regarding a missing child to contact Crime Stoppers  anonymously on 1800 333 000.

Do you have concerns that your ex-partner wishes to move your child to another location without your consent? Please contact Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400 today to discuss your options and a plan of action.

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