Kinderontvoering door ouders: Aantal ontvoeringen van kinderen door ouders stijgt


April 13, 2013

Source: hln.be

In 2011 zijn in ons land 241 ontvoeringen van minderjarigen door een ouder geregistreerd. Dat aantal zit sinds 2008 (170 feiten) in de lift. In 2009 werden er 209 feiten vastgesteld en in 2010 214. In de eerste 6 maanden van 2012 waren dat er 96.

Ontvoeringer_Kinderen

Ook het aantal pogingen tot ouderlijke ontvoering steeg in de periode 2009-2011 van 19 tot 39. In 2008 werden 31 pogingen geregistreerd en in het eerste semester van 2012 17. In 2011 werden ook 139 andere ontvoeringen van minderjarigen en 107 pogingen tot vastgesteld. In 2010 was dat respectievelijk 93 en 104 en in de eerste 6 maanden van 2012 68 en 72. Het totaal aantal ontvoeringen (met inbegrip van de pogingen) van minderjarigen steeg in de periode 2008-2011 van 435 tot 526 (253 in de eerste 6 maanden van 2012).

Minister van Binnenlandse Zaken Joëlle Milquet deelt ook cijfers over het aantal “vrijheidsberovingen door een particulier”. In 2011 werden 862 dergelijke feiten (met inbegrip van pogingen) geregistreerd. Ook dit cijfer zit sinds 2008 (683) in de lift. In de eerste 6 maanden van 2012 werden 409 feiten vastgesteld.

In 2011 werden ook 68 gijzelingen (pogingen inbegrepen) geregistreerd. Dat aantal daalt. In 2010 werden 79 dergelijke feiten vastgesteld, in 2009 101 en in de eerste 6 maanden 2012 31.

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United States – Parental Child Abduction Statistics 2012


January 25, 2013

Source: U.S State Dept.

800px-USA_Flag_1992

Unreported cases of abduction are forecasted to be between 100% and 125% of reported cases. These cases continue to increase due to a flux of immigration migration and both documented (legal) and undocumented (illegal) residents not being aware that they can turn to their government for assistance.

2012 Outgoing case statistics

2012 Incoming case statistics

2011 Outgoing case statistics

2011 Incoming case statistics 

2010 Outgoing case statistics

2010 Incoming case statistics

2012 report on compliance with the 1980 Hague convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction

United Kingdom: 

New figures reveal that the number of parental child abduction cases dealt with by the Foreign Office has risen by 88% in under a decade.

In the last year alone the Foreign Office’s Child Abduction Section fielded an average of four calls per day to its specialist advice line, more than half of which were new cases .

Child_Abductions

The Foreign Office says that that the statistics could be just the tip of the iceberg because many cases go unreported as parents seek custody of their children through foreign courts.

Research commissioned by the Foreign Office shows that half the UK population believes the government can intervene to order the return of a child to the UK if he or she has been abducted by a parent. However, the reality is that whilst help is available, parental child abduction cases can take years to resolve.

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Turkey: 736 files regarding international child abduction cases seen in 11 years


July 22, 2012

Source: todayszaman.com

A total of 736 files regarding international parental child abduction cases were processed between 2000 and 2011 in Turkey, according to recent data from the Justice Ministry.

The data provides detailed information about the procedure followed in international parental child abduction incidents in Turkey. Firstly, requests for legal assistance made from other countries by individuals claiming that their children have been abducted and brought into Turkey or have been wrongfully detained in the country are thoroughly examined by the Justice Ministry, and following the examination, the relevant files are sent to the chief public prosecutor’s office in the location where the child is believed to be residing.

In these cases of parental abduction, if the parent who has taken the child without the other parent’s consent refuses to return the child to their country of habitual residence, an official lawsuit is launched against them.

Turkey is party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. It signed the Hague convention on Jan. 21, 1998, and the convention entered the Turkish domestic code on Feb. 15, 2000, when it was published in Turkey’s Official Gazette. From the time it was published to the end of 2011, 128 requests for legal assistance regarding child abduction cases in Turkey were made to other countries, while 618 requests for legal assistance were made to Turkey.

The data also showed that the return of foreign criminals to their home countries is being carried out in line with the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. Criminals are sent to their home countries after a thorough examination of the relevant documents by the Justice Ministry. The data noted that 53 criminals from 16 countries were returned to Turkey in 2011. Of these 53 criminals, 17 were sent back from Germany, while eight were sent back from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC). Furthermore, the number of criminals caught in Turkey and subsequently deported in 2011 was eight. Most were deported to Germany and the US.

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45 Barn Bortført i 2011


Kilde: Bortført.no

Justisminister Grete Faremo fortalte til TV2 at: “intensivt arbeid mot bortføring av barn har ført til at det offisielle tallet på barnebortføringer gikk ned i fjor.”  Realiteten er at det ikke er noe nedgang å spore, om man ser mer enn ett år tilbake. Det eksisterer dessverre heller ikke noe “intensivt arbeid mot bortføringer” fordi regjeringen har unnlatt å ta viktige grep. Les mer her.



Det verste er at vi ikke kan stole på at Justisdepartementets tall stemmer, fordi de har oppgitt feil tall tidligere. I en sprørretimen i Stortinget 03.02.10 sa daværende justisminister Knut Storberget følgende: ”Det vi har sett siden 2006, er at antallet barnebortføringer fra Norge som vi har registrert, faktisk har sunket fra 57 til 28Les referatet her. Tallene Storberget preseneterte stemte imidlertid ikke.

Ingen ante da at Storberget brukte manipulert statistikk for å villede Stortinget. Vi la fram detaljerte opplysninger om bortføringer som ikke var å finne i statistikken. Justisdepartementet svarte skriftlig til Stortinget 03.03.10 hvor de forklarte seg slik: ”Nettsiden http://www.bortført.no, som justisministeren redegjorde for i samme spørretime, sier imidlertid at det har vært en dramatisk økning i antall bortføringer, og at Justisdepartementet driver talljuks slik at statistikken ser bedre ut enn det den egentlig er. En del av problemet er at politiet i enkelte tilfeller ikke vil ta imot anmeldelser mot bortfører, eller at de ikke har gode registreringsordninger slik at alle tilfeller som kommer til politiet, fanges opp.”

Politiet fikk skylden

Justisdepartementet slapp unna med talljukset  i 2010 ved å skylde på politiet. Unnskyldningen var imidlertid nokså tåpelig, siden alle de unnlatte bortføringene var rapportert direkte til Justisdepartementet. I 2009 var det helt vanlig at politiet ikke mottok anmeldinger, fordi det ikke er straffbart for foreldre med daglig omsorg å bortføre barn. Les mer her. Politiet har blitt flinkere til å motta anmeldelser, men man er ikke avhengig av en politianmeldelse for å kreve barn returnert i henhold til Haagkonvensjonen.

Disse sakene kunne ikke skjules i departementets skuffer i evighet, derfor dukket bortføringene opp igjen i statistikken for 2010, som således ble et rekordår med hele 64 bortføringer.

Vi kjenner ikke til bortføringer som er utelatt i statistikken for 2011. Vi føler vi oss likevel ikke trygge fordi vi vet at Justisdepartementet er villige til å bruke løgn som virkemiddel for å lede søkelyset vekk fra barnebortføringssakene.

For å få en oversikt oversikt må man se på utviklingen over tid, og da vil man finne ut at antallet barnebortføringer, både fra og til Norge, øker stødig. Se nyhetssendingen fra TV2 her.

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Parental Child Abduction: American Father Fights to Bring Children Home From Egypt


Source: abcnews

Colin Bower said he still remembers the shock and horror he felt during a phone call he received in August of 2009. A male caller informed him that his children had been taken to Egypt, Bower says, and that if he made any attempts to contact authorities, he would never see them again.

He was supposed to pick up his two boys, Noor and Ramsay, 9 and 7 at the time, from a scheduled visit in Boston with their mother, Mirvat El Nady, Bower says. A U.S. judge had granted him sole legal custody after the couple’s divorce in 2008, and El Nady, a British and Egyptian citizen, had limited visitation. Those restrictions, Bower says, along with findings in the divorce proceedings raising doubts about her truthfulness, angered El Nady and prompted the kidnapping.

Bower, a financial consultant from Boston, said he later learned that El Nady had taken the children to John F. Kennedy airport in New York, purchased one-way tickets to Cairo with cash, and allegedly used Egyptian passports with false identities to get the boys past security and onto an EgyptAir flight.

Bower has sued the airline, alleging they failed to pick up on serious red flags: the boys’ surnames did not match their mother’s and the boys’ passports had no U.S. entry visas. Barry Pollack, who is representing Bower in the case, says EgyptAir should have safeguards in place for potential abduction cases.

“Airlines have every right to require the parents to show dual parental consent forms to prove that the adult has the right to take that child overseas,” Pollack told ABC News.

EgyptAir declined to comment specifically on the lawsuit. Just last month, lawyers for the airline filed a motion asking that the suit be dismissed. Regarding parental consent forms, their motion argues that EgyptAir is only required to review passports and that “airlines simply do not have the manpower required to track down and contact non-traveling parents to discuss their children’s travel.”

The motion for dismissal also cited a recent report on international child abductions by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The report, which says the annual number of cases of abductions reported has tripled since 2000, suggests that airlines “do not have the authority to verify or enforce court and custody orders in an effort to prevent international parental child abductions.”

Instead, the report states, that responsibility belongs to the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Bower says that’s letting airlines off the hook.

“The GAO report clearly represents the interests of the airlines, not the safety of the passengers or their children,” Bower said. “This should absolutely terrify every parent.”

In response to an email from ABC News, the GAO said, “The report does not state that airlines have no responsibility to check identifications, nor was it intended to suggest that airlines are prohibited from requesting verified or certified copies of custody orders in order to prevent child abductions. …The report makes a general statement which was intended to reflect the distinction between the role and authority of the courts, law enforcement officials, federal agencies, and private sector entities such as the airlines.”

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Happy New Year


We wish all our friends a happy new year

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Child abduction. Why the law has to change


Source: Armstronglegal.com

by Lucinda Bordignon on December 31, 2011

The statistics about abduction of children from Australia are shocking. For example, on average 2 to 3 children are wrongfully removed from Australia or kept in another country overseas every week by one of their parents.

The Federal Government has heeded recommendations of the Family Law Council of Australia and has proposed to implement laws giving the Family Court of Australia the power to stop child support payments that are paid to parents who abduct their children from Australia.

You might find yourself asking; why are these legislative changes necessary? Well, as the law currently stands, a parent who takes a child overseas for a holiday with the other parent’s consent and who then keeps the child overseas for longer than the other parent originally consented to(i.e. they only consented to the holiday) is not actually breaking any Australian law.

Essentially, the legislative changes proposed by the Federal Government, namely the proposed laws that will give the Family Court the power to stop child support payments being paid to parents who abduct their children from Australia, is aimed to deter this abhorrent behaviour.

Not only does the abduction of children from Australia have negative impacts on the wellbeing of the child who is abducted; it has adverse emotional and financial impacts on parents too.

Attorney General Robert McClelland strongly supports the proposed legislative change. The Federal Government proposes to implement its new legislation in the first half of 2012.  Hopefully the proposed legislative amendments will deter child abduction and provide parents (and children) with much needed peace of mind.

For specialist family law advice from a lawyer who has expertise in this area of law, please contact us  to speak with a family lawyer and obtain legal advice tailored to your circumstances.

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Japan – United States : Gov’t to set up 7 panels to deal with parental child abduction issue


Source: Japan Today

TOKYO —

The Japanese department in charge of the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea announced plans this week to create seven subcommittees to be more proactive in resolving the issue.

Led by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, the government task force for the abduction issue said it plans to go on the offensive in light of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il’s death. The seven panels will be mobilized to gather information and work toward a solution to the problem that many Japanese citizens say hasn’t received enough attention in the past.

Relatives of the abductees have called on the government to take advantage of the transition of power in North Korea to approach Pyongyang on reopening the investigation.

The subcommittees will meet over the course of about two months, and will focus on strategy, enforcement, international cooperation and other themes. Each subcommittee will be headed by a senior vice minister.

Noda said, “Given the current North Korea situation, I want to lay out guidelines and strengthen our ability to resolve this issue,” NHK reported.

Noda has already asked Chinese and South Korean leaders to tell North Korea’s new leadership that it “must make progress” in addressing the aduction issue if bilateral ties are to be improved.

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Parental Abduction to Japan: Few options for left-behind parents even if Hague OK’d


Source: The Japan times

Without retroactive effect, treaty will leave past abductions in limbo

Abduction anger: Rep. Christopher Smith (center) is surrounded by relatives of American children abducted to Japan during a September 2010 news conference in Washington calling for swift passage of a resolution on child abduction to the country. 

In July 2003, Paul Toland arrived to an empty home at the U.S. Navy’s family housing facility in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. Gone were his Japanese wife and baby daughter. What was left was a note: “Contact my lawyers.”

Since then, Toland, a navy commander, has been fighting to get his daughter back — and he’s not alone. Hundreds of other fathers from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and other countries are also fighting the same battle.

“Hundreds of children have been abducted and none have ever been returned (from Japan),” Toland, now based in Maryland, said in a phone interview earlier this year. “It’s frustrating — you know that you are in a losing battle.”

For years, Japan was the object of international criticism for not joining the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction that prevents cross-border parental kidnapping.

But in May, the government announced its decision to begin preparations for signing the treaty, which would make it the last country among the Group of Eight industrial powers to join the international convention.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in October said he would submit the legislation to the Diet when it opens in early 2012.

But for the international community, signing the treaty is only a step in the right direction. A larger problem for many is that the Hague Convention is not effective retroactively — meaning that even if Japan joins the pact, it won’t help parents like Toland.

“Signing the Hague is just a very small step — there is so much else that needs to be done,” Toland said. “The true test will be how many children do they actually return and how well will they work with us fathers in the existing cases.”

U.S. President Barack Obama has reportedly urged Noda to take measures to ensure current cases get dealt with. But Noda has been evasive on that point.

“As indicated, the treaty is not effective retroactively . . . and we are in the middle of making preparations to sign the Hague Treaty, as well as discussing what kind of appropriate measures can be taken for past cases,” Noda said during an interview in October with The Japan Times and several other media outlets.

The recent case in Wisconsin, where Moises Garcia was reunited with his daughter, who had been abducted by his Japanese ex-wife, marked the first time an American child was returned to the United States. But observers believe this was an exceptional case since the child was returned after the mother was arrested in Hawaii on child abduction charges.

Frustrated with Japan’s foot-dragging, Toland and about 100 other left-behind parents in 2010 formed Bring Abducted Children Home (BAC Home), a group specifically focused on children taken to Japan by former spouses. This group has lobbied the U.S. government to put pressure on Japan to deal with the problem. Members have been holding quarterly meetings with top government officials and politicians to get updates and discuss the issue.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith stressed in an email interview with The Japan Times that the U.S. would continue to make sure that all current cases are settled.

Signing the treaty “is not enough. We must have resolution of the current cases,” Smith said. “Congress will not let up until current cases are resolved. We cannot and will not forget our children.”

Smith, a Republican, has been at the forefront of cases involving international child abductions. In 2009, he played a key role in successfully bringing back a boy who had been abducted to Brazil by his mother from his American father.

To ensure the compliance of the Hague Convention by member states, Smith in May sponsored the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2011, which is being deliberated in the House of Representatives. The bill includes 18 types of action that can be taken by the U.S. president against uncooperative countries, ranging from public condemnation and the cancellation of official visits to economic sanctions.

“Allowing abduction without consequence only encourages abduction — tearing apart families and wounding the hearts and minds of children. Abductors should not be rewarded,” Smith said.

The lawmaker also suggested that Japan and the U.S. sign a “memorandum of understanding” to address the current cases that would not be covered if Japan ratified the treaty.

According to a Foreign Ministry official in Tokyo, this sort of bilateral agreement has been made between some member states and Islamic countries that are not party to the Hague Convention. However, the official was not aware of any discussions in Japan to establish such an agreement with the U.S.

“If asked what we can do about current cases, all I can say is that (the left-behind parent) should use the current domestic law and file a lawsuit to the family court to see or have that child again,” the official explained.

In the past seven months, Japan has been focused on drafting the bill necessary to be submitted together with the ratification to the Diet. The legislation would map out the details of the new “central authority” in the Foreign Ministry, which would oversee treaty-related cases as well as list the circumstances in which Japan can reject the return of the child.

Even if the bill is submitted to the Diet next year as planned, its fate remains murky. Public opinion over this issue is divided and some members of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan are opposed to it, as well. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations has proposed that a three year moratorium be imposed before Japan’s ratification takes effect for preparations and to seek better public understanding.

The Japanese government, however, wants the treaty to take effect “within a practical time frame as soon as possible,” the Foreign Ministry official said. “The longer we wait, the more people will go through difficult times.”

But time is not on the side of left-behind parents.

Toland’s daughter, taken when she was just 9 months old, is now 9 years old. Four years after the abduction, Toland’s wife committed suicide, but instead of giving him — the sole living parent — legal guardianship, the mother of his late wife was granted custody.

Since his wife took their daughter in 2003, he has only seen his child three times: twice in a videotaped courthouse playroom with the grandmother and a courthouse employee while his wife and her lawyers watched through a one-way mirror and once when he was able to catch her on the street just long enough to give her a Christmas present.

And after the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Toland flew to Japan to see his only daughter and make sure she was OK. Instead, his former mother-in-law completely shut him out, refusing to let him even see his daughter, Toland said.

While his daughter remains thousands of kilometers away in Japan, Toland said he hopes that the U.S. government and Congress will continue to put pressure on Japan to make sure that it keeps its promise.

“If you have your own child stripped away from you, your human rights are violated,” Toland said. “It’s not a personal issue to us, it’s a human rights issue. Every parent has the right to their child and every child has the right to know and love both parents.”

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Courts should punish parental abduction


Source: TheGlobeAndMail

The abduction of children by their mother or father is a serious crime deserving of serious consequences, and of a strong denunciation by the courts.

But the courts do not usually like to send first offenders to jail, especially when they are “otherwise of good character” and not a danger to reoffend. Many abducting parents receive conditional discharges. It is difficult to see why being a first-time offender should reduce a sentence, when the offence goes on for months or years.

That is what happened in September in R. v. Melville, an Ontario case involving a five-year-old taken by his mother from Toronto to Florida for 12 years, in violation of a court order. The judge in the abduction case did not believe there were extenuating circumstances of abuse. “In a system that is meant to focus on the best interests of the child, the child can be reduced to a weapon used by warring parents to bludgeon each other,” wrote Mr. Justice Todd Ducharme of the Ontario Superior Court, stressing the seriousness of the crime. But the Crown asked only for six months in prison, and that is what Judge Ducharme gave the mother.

It is also what happened in November in R. v. Neundorf, also in Ontario, in which a mother and her new husband took her two sons, in violation of a court order, to Singapore, without advising the boys’ father. It was seven months before she returned. In that case, the trial judge sentenced her to a year under house arrest; being a first offender worked in the mother’s favour. After she had served that term, the Court of Appeal granted her an absolute discharge, clearing her of a criminal record. Perhaps that was fair in the circumstances, but it is difficult to understand part of that court’s rationale – that the mother had experienced the hardship of not being able to see her boys for more than a year, as a result of her arrest and changes to the custody terms. Wasn’t that her fault?

In a B.C. case from 2008, R. v. Gill, a mother received a conditional discharge after fleeing an abusive situation and taking her two children home to India – for 10 years. Again, perhaps fair in the circumstances; but the message of deterrence, and of the need to respect court processes, was lost.

Each parental abduction turns on its facts, of course, and it would be foolish to urge that all abductors be tossed in jail, regardless of the circumstances. The maximum sentence is 10 years in jail, reflecting Parliament’s view of the seriousness of parental abduction. Parental abduction is a form of child abuse, and the courts should treat it that way.

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