How Family Court cases like Wylie vs Wylie provoke fugitive parents

October 6 , 2014

Source: The Australian

Some women who feel betrayed by the Family Court resort to desperate measures. 


WE had dinner in May 2013, almost a year before the abduction.

Over pasta and salad she said there were dark and terrible things I needed to know about the matter of Wylie v Wylie, the pseudonymous title the Family Court of Australia gave its published judgments in one of the most bitter and complex cases in its 38-year history. “Ms Wylie” was bright, well-spoken and tortured by the belief that her husband, “Mr Wylie”, was sexually abusing their six-year-old twin daughters. She asked if I could help her. I could not.

On June 7, 2013, Family Court judge Justice Peter Tree, “after eight days of trial before me of fiercely contested competing parenting applications relating to the parties’ six-year-old twin girls”, ordered that Mr Wylie have sole parental responsibility for the major long-term care of his children and that Ms Wylie ask her GP for referral to a psychiatrist. “I am satisfied, on the material before me, that the concerns which inevitably would otherwise have flowed from the mother’s notice of abuse, have been sufficiently addressed by the evidence,” said Justice Tree.

That evidence included documents detailing the outcome of an investigation conducted by the Queensland Police Service and the Department of Child Safety into Ms Wylie’s child abuse ­allegations against her husband that found: “Nil physical evidence of sexual abuse indicated through medical examination; nil verbal reports from the children of abuse over four interviews with QPS and Child Safety; verbal report from [one twin] to QPS and Child Safety citing coaching from her mother to make statements.”

On February 14 this year, Ms Wylie sent me a 1549-word email: “I have now seen two psychiatrists, four psychologists and a victims-of-crime counsellor who have all said that I am sane. The father and the Family Court believe I am not, so I just keep being sent to another mental health professional. I believe that this will keep happening until one of them says what the court wants to hear.

“Everything is being done by those who should be protecting my children to protect their abuser, and [the twins] are still forced to live with him.

“One in four children are sexually abused. Only one in 100 pedophiles see the inside of a prison cell. It is not because children aren’t talking, it is that they aren’t believed, and, more often than not, if their abuser is their father, he is given custody.”

On April 1, Ms Wylie sent a message to me that was also sent to Acting Inspector Craig Weatherley of the Queensland Police Child Safety and Sexual Crime Group: “I have tried and tried to have faith that the people who are paid to protect my children would do so. This situation needs to be made very public. It is ­horrifying on so many levels.”

On April 3, Ms Wylie emailed me a photograph of one of her girls. She was smiling, in a red dress, wearing the same kind of purple angel wings that my own seven-year-old daughter wears on occasion. “This is a photo of [her] BEFORE she started bleeding from her rectum and contracting another vaginal infection,” Ms Wylie wrote. “Painfully thin, eyes sunken in her head, and apparently absolutely no need for concern in regards to how well she is being ‘cared’ for. Can you imagine what state she is in now? They say a picture says a thousand words. This is the reality of her life right now.”


The next day, April 4, Mr Wylie dropped his girls at the gate of the school they attend. It was between 8.30am and 8.40am, the last day of school before the Easter holidays. He watched his daughters walk 30m from the car to the school gate, amid the usual chaos of school drop-off; kids running left and right, parents zipping back and forth. His eyes zeroed in on his children and he said to himself, “Gee, they’re getting big those girls.”

Sometime between entering the school gate and the sound of the morning bell, the girls vanished. The Family Court issued a media release that spread across the country: “Fugitive mother of two [Ms Wylie] remains on the run more than a week after she is believed to have abducted her twin daughters from their … primary school. By now, she could quite literally be ­anywhere in Australia.

“The suspected abduction is unlawful and in breach of Family Court orders which [Ms Wylie] consented to … It is inevitable that someone has seen the trio in their travels, and may even know their present whereabouts. Any assistance knowingly provided to a criminal to avoid punishment is itself a serious crime.

“Their father is deeply concerned and desperately seeking public help.”

Ms Wylie was issued one of the 520 recovery orders made by the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court in the past year, orders that Chief Justice Diana Bryant calls a “last resort” when parents don’t voluntarily return children, or take them on the run.

I went back over the emails Ms Wylie had sent me throughout the past year and my thoughts kept returning to her message of April 1, three days before the abduction. Her desperate course was mapped in two lines. “I have had enough of playing nice,” she wrote. “Following the rules does not work.”

I’m looking at Mr Wylie as he’s talking, ­telling me what it feels like to be a father of two kids still on the run with their mother, five long months after they disappeared. I’m studying his teeth, his hair, his skin and his speech to make foolish and unqualified gut assessments about whether or not he speaks the truth. He will get this for the rest of his life and he knows it. The stain of the allegation. “You have your best friends asking you outright, ‘Tell me now, did you do it or not?’” he says.

He cries when he says this, screws his face up, grits his teeth. The thought has a physical impact on him. “They want to help but they don’t want to be put in a position where they’re supporting someone who is a child abuser.

“One police officer said to me, ‘It’s the easiest allegation to make but the hardest one to prove and if you hate someone enough, that would be the way to go.’”

He pulls a small red rental car into a carpark on Brisbane’s suburban northside, where police have had unconfirmed sightings of Ms Wylie and her two daughters. “We used to live here,” he says. “She knows the area well.”

He pops his boot, takes a block of A4 posters marked, “ABDUCTED/MISSING $10,000 REWARD. For information leading to the location of missing 7-year-old non-identical twins… abducted by non-custodial parent in breach of court orders”. His girls beam in school uniform photos, one daughter missing her two front teeth. He sticks the posters to light poles, public noticeboards; hands them out to strangers.

“I came back to school at 3pm that afternoon to pick them up,” he says. “There were kids coming out and one little girl with her dad says to me, ‘What’s wrong with [one of the twins]? She wasn’t at school today.’ I thought she was just confused.

“Then I went in to where they wait to be picked up and there was no one there. I went up to their classroom and the teacher came out and said, ‘They haven’t been here all day.’” He shakes his head. “That’s not good.”

Tears fill his eyes again. “They found her car and the kids’ uniforms and school bags abandoned in the car about five minutes away from the school,” he says. “I don’t know whether she was waiting there, but, obviously, there’s been a changeover of cars.”

He shows me the text message he sent her immediately that afternoon: “Call me urgently.”

“I knew immediately it was [her]. I thought it was almost inevitable. She was getting to the end of the line. In terms of trying to push that line she was going with. There was no further way she could push it through the court. The only thing that was left for her was to take them.”

Mr Wylie met Ms Wylie in a public gym. They married in 2000, bought and renovated and sold houses in the property boom, travelled and worked through Europe. Their twin girls were born through IVF in 2007, when Mr Wylie was establishing his own small business.

“We had arguments,” he says. “We’d had a bit of conflict — mortgages, business debts. It was the usual thing, money. She had her ideas on business, I had mine. We had differences in parenting. We were fighting after the girls had gone to bed. Eventually I said we should split up.”


And the war began. Fights over debt, fights over houses, legal fights over custody arrangements, accusations of domestic violence. Then Mr Wylie received a text message from Ms Wylie: “You need to talk to the Department of Child Safety, they’ve got some concerns.” A mandatory report had been made to the department alleging, Mr Wylie says, that one of the twins made a disclosure to an occupational ­therapist: “Daddy hurts me down here.”

A departmental “Assessment of Harm and Risk of Harm”, however, later determined that “the children are at risk of emotional harm as a result of the allegations being made that their father is sexually harming them. Their mother has advised that she was sexually abused as a child and believes that [Mr Wylie] is doing exactly the same things to her daughters. A parent who has been harmed as a child is more likely to display harmful parenting patterns relating to what they were subjected to themselves as a child.

“There is previous child protection history in relation to [Ms Wylie] alleging the girls were being sexually harmed by their father. The outcome of this investigation was Unsubstantiated as [the twin] advised that the rash was caused by her underpants being too tight.

“[Ms Wylie] appears to be experiencing a high degree of stress as a result of her relationship breakdown with [Mr Wylie].”

Mr Wylie sips water at a small cafe before setting off to walk the streets handing out ­pictures of his girls. “It’s vigilantism,” he says. “It’s laughing in the face of the law.”

He looks down at one of his reward leaflets. “The hardest thing to think about is the stuff they’re experiencing right now,” he says. “The fear, the anxiety, the ideas being put into their heads: ‘Daddy’s not safe.’”

In the five months she’s been on the run, somewhere across Australia, Ms Wylie’s story has spilled from the courts into the slaughterhouse of the internet. One men’s rights website has dubbed her a “child abuser, child abductor, fugitive, feminist”. A “Friends of…” website, on the other hand, lists testimonials about Ms Wylie’s character from family and friends, including Professor Ros Thorpe, emeritus professor of social work at James Cook University and president of the Family Inclusion Network Townsville, which considers the interests of both children and ­parents in the child ­protection process.

Almost a year ago, Ms Wylie made an aside to Thorpe, her friend. “It might come to the point where I might have to take off with them,” Ms Wylie said.

“I said to her, ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea because the consequences for you will be bad,’” says Thorpe. “I was shocked [but] I wasn’t ­surprised because she’s been tortured by this. I don’t think she’s mentally unbalanced at all. She has no psychopathology. She’s not crazy.”

Thorpe and her long-time friend Dr Freda Briggs AO, emeritus professor in child development at the University of South Australia, had been staunch advocates for Ms Wylie prior to the abduction. They believed her, heart and soul. They still do. They’ve called for a reinvestigation of the case, saying key witnesses — including family members who allege to have heard direct disclosures of abuse by the girls — were not interviewed during the harrowing investigations and court hearings.

Briggs is working on multiple cases of ­mothers who feel betrayed by the Family Court. “Why would these mums give up their jobs, their homes, their positions, their support ­networks and flee with their children if it wasn’t something serious? They are taking the children into hiding to protect them from the parent and the Family Court.”

Briggs analysed interview transcripts from the Wylie case and claimed “inappropriate questioning of the children” by police. “How does a police inspector know what language would have been developmentally appropriate for kids aged four and five?” she says. “It requires great sensitivity and special skill in interviewing young children. You need a child-­focused environment and you are required to spend a great deal of time with the child. Those children were interviewed all over the place, in police stations and in the school office. The police said the father… was safe and that he would never do anything to harm them. No responsible professional would make such a statement because no one can be sure what went on in that home.”

Mr Wylie counters: “Their argument is, ‘Police bullied the kids, they’re not experts in child development.’ Well, the Child Protection and Investigation Unit is specifically tasked with dealing with these issues and questioning these kids. Officers from Brisbane were flown up to interview the kids again, for the fourth time after this complaint was made. These were the best of the best, the head of all the CPI units in Queensland brought his senior detective up, the one who trains all the other CPI detectives. And it was exactly the same outcome. And then the supporters are like, ‘Well, it’s obvious the father is coaching them.’

“That’s what I put to Freda Briggs. I mapped it all out and I said, ‘What more possible investigation could there be?’ ”

Briggs says the case ­highlights a growing problem within Australian family law. “The Family Court was set up for divorces,” she says. “It was not set up for child abuse cases.

“These situations happen so frequently that now family lawyers and the women’s legal services advise the mothers to not tell the Family Court about child abuse because you are likely to be labelled as delusional or malicious and you become the bad parent. The focus goes on the mother and the mother loses the child.

“What we would really like is to be able to get child abuse cases out of the Family Court or ensure that judges or participants are experts in child development and child abuse which, currently, they are not.”

When he retired from the Parramatta Family Court last year, seasoned judge Justice David Collier made a rare public statement about an increase in accusations of child abuse in hostile cases. “I’m satisfied that a number of people who have appeared before me have known that it is one of the ways of completely shutting ­husbands out of the child’s life,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald. “It’s a horrible weapon.”


Alastair Nicholson was Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia from 1988 to 2004. “I have a lot of time for David Collier but I wouldn’t put it as strongly as that,” he says. “I think, on the other hand, these fights get very bitter and you certainly will get some cases where that will happen. Of course, the real risk anyone takes who makes a false allegation is that if you make false allegations, and knowingly do so, the court’s very likely to say, ‘Well, you’re really not fit to be a parent of the child because you’ve been prepared to use the child in this way.’ So it may all go very pear-shaped from that person’s point of view. To say nothing of the child.”

A separate specialist court to process such matters is not the answer, according to ­Nicholson. “There’s only so far you can go with this specialist concept,” he says. “You’d go crazy ­hearing these cases all the time. The judge does. You have to have a break from it. I’d be very ­worried about the effect of having a specialist court just dealing with these cases.”

He welcomes, however, a broader system that better connects the long-disconnected ­systems of state and commonwealth. “It’s pie-in-the-sky stuff, but I’ve long thought that instead of having state child protection courts and the federal family court with a child protection capacity, there should be one system throughout Australia because, otherwise, it really doesn’t work very well. There’s more co-operation than there used to be but it’s still not an ideal system.”

Either way, he says, and “despite the determination of individuals, there has to be a stop somewhere” — meaning a legal decision that all parties must live with.

“It is, of course, easy to make an allegation,” Nicholson says. “Of course, you get some outright liars, but in my experience there were a lot of cases where a suspicion had arisen and the person becomes convinced that the suspicion is reality. They’ll blame the systems, they’ll blame the experts, and you always have that ­terrible feeling, ‘Well, maybe they have got it right.’ It’s one of those things that you lie awake at night about.”

Dad, I am so angry right now. I cannot believe that my own father would lie to me for my whole life and just pretend like everything is OK … I will not wait any longer for my psychopathic father to tell the truth. I have already given you more than 10 years … I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t been destroyed by your lies. You NEED TO GET HELP NOW. Don’t end your life living with a lie. Make the most of the rest of your life and get help. You are a very special person to me, make sure you remember that. I will never stop loving you but I absolutely HATE your behaviour.

Abbey [surname withheld]

That is an edited letter written by a 14-year-old West Australian girl to her father in December 2010. In May last year, Abbey ­disclosed to her mother that her father sexually assaulted her repeatedly between the ages of three and seven. In November last year, Abbey took her own life, aged 17.

In 2002, Abbey’s father was charged with the sexual assault of Abbey’s best friend when she was seven. It would take Abbey years to disclose that she, too, had been assaulted by her father with her best friend on regular sleepovers.

In 2005, her father was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison, released on parole after two years. Upon his release, despite protestations from Abbey’s mother, the father was granted access visits with his three children by the Family Court of Western Australia. “In my attempts to protect my children, I was treated as a hysterical woman by the Family Court, even though [the father] had been charged with child sexual offences at the time,” Abbey’s mother says. “I was made to look like a vindictive wife instead of what I was, a protective mother.”

She has called on the state government to launch an inquest into her daughter’s death. Meanwhile, national child protection advocate Bravehearts has launched Abbey’s Project in her daughter’s name, calling for and recording exhaustive statements from Australians who have experienced “instances where deficiencies in the Family Court practices, policies and procedures have resulted in children being assaulted and placed at serious risk of sexual harm”, ­culminating in a report to be submitted to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston hopes the project will be “the precursor for a much larger and broader inquiry into the operations of the Family Court of Australia and related child protection organisations and institutions”. She says: “Every week in Australia, the Family Courts are ordering children into contact with, and even into the custody of parents who are dangerous, toxic and abusive because Family Courts do not have the powers, expertise and resources to competently investigate allegations of child abuse.”

Court-ordered contact with her father left a pre-teen Abbey deeply confused, says her mother, seeding the anorexia and self-loathing that plagued her teens. “I know why [Ms Wylie] is running,” says Abbey’s mother. “Because she’s alone. It makes you feel sick. For 10 years I have felt sick. All I was trying to do was protect my kids through the Family Court but I was so alone. No one heard me. And now Abbey’s dead.

“I know why mothers run. I wish I had run myself. Abbey would still be here.”

Ms Wylie’s parents live on a sprawling Queensland cattle property. It keeps them busy; keeps their minds off thoughts about where on Earth their daughter and grandchildren might be. They say their daughter is a resourceful woman, as at home in a tent by a creek bed as she is in a plush hotel suite.

The couple has been receiving counselling through the past five months. “I worry where they are,” Ms Wylie’s mum says. “Are they OK? It gets cold and I think, ‘Are they warm enough?’ I know they’ll be happy with their mother though. She will spend her time trying to make them happy.”

Family Court of Australia Chief Justice Diana Bryant has a far grimmer picture in her head. “Abduction of children always has a detrimental impact on the children,” she says. “First, there is the removal from familiar surroundings, school, friends and family, and especially the other parent. Then there is the subterfuge and hiding and often the adoption of false identities. Children may also be kept away from school to avoid detection.

“In order to live in this situation and where children are old enough to ask questions, a regime of denigration and rejection of the other parent is often necessary to justify the circumstances. This is likely to have a long-term detrimental psychological impact on the children.

“Once located, the possibility that the children could be removed from the abducting ­parent will also be traumatic for them. When a parent abducts a child and goes into hiding, the children will inevitably be harmed and will always be the losers in these situations.”

“The grandparents want the children to live with them,” says Briggs, referring to the Wylie case. “It’s not going to happen, is it? He’ll get the kids back and she’ll go to jail.”

“What do you mean, ‘What if he is innocent?’ ” asks Professor Thorpe. “You mean, ‘How would I react?’ Well, I would find it very hard to believe and accept, just as his supporters find it hard to believe that he has abused the girls.”

Every day, meanwhile, Ms Wylie’s parents finish their day’s work on the farm and then go inside and wait by the phone for news of their daughter. The only way they can communicate with her is through news pieces such as this. “Take care,” her dad says. “And we love you.”

Sometimes the phone rings late in the night, wakes them up. “Hello?” her dad says. “Hello?”

But there’s no response. Only silence.

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Parental Child Abductions: When Custody Issues Lead to Violence

June 7 , 2013


Child Abductions, When Custody Issues Lead to Violence

An analysis of recent FBI child abduction investigations has revealed a disturbing trend: Non-custodial parents are increasingly abducting and threatening to harm their own kids to retaliate against parents who were granted legal custody of the children.

Child Abuse

“Unfortunately, the threat of violence—and death—in these cases is all too real,” said Ashli-Jade Douglas, an FBI analyst in our Violent Crimes Against Children Intelligence Unit who specializes in child abduction matters. “ Most non-custodial parental abductors want retaliation. They feel that if they can’t have the child full time—or any amount of time—then the other parent shouldn’t have the child, either.”

An analysis of all FBI child abduction cases where a motivation was known shows that custodial-motivated abductions—in which a son or daughter is taken against the will of the child and the custodial parent—have increased from 9 percent in fiscal year 2010 to 50 percent in fiscal year 2012. Sometimes the motivation is to convince the custodial parent to stay in a relationship; more often it is to harm the child in an act of retaliation. This trend appears to be on the rise, Douglas said. At least 25 instances of such abductions have been reported to the FBI since October.

“Our analysis indicates that children age 3 years and younger of unwed or divorced parents are most at risk of being abducted by their non-custodial parent,” Douglas added. “And the timely reporting of the abduction by the custodial parent to law enforcement is crucial in increasing the likelihood of recovering the child unharmed and apprehending the offender.”

 Quick Reporting Key to Child Safety

There is a common misconception that domestic custodial child abductions are considered a family matter that should not be investigated by law enforcement. In fact, when such abductions are reported to law enforcement, the child should be considered to be in danger—especially in cases when the non-custodial parents have previously threatened to abduct or harm their children, are mentally disabled, or are unemployed or otherwise financially unstable.


“The timely reporting of the abduction by the custodial parent to law enforcement is critical,” said Ashli-Jade Douglas, an analyst in our Violent Crimes Against Children Intelligence Unit. “That greatly increases the chances of recovering the child unharmed.”

Some recent cases include:

  • In 2009, a non-custodial mother abducted her 8-month-old son from his custodial father in Texas. She told the father she killed the boy to prevent the father from employing his custodial rights and in retaliation for his alleged involvement with other women.
  • In 2011, a 2-year-old girl was abducted by her non-custodial father in California. A week later, both were found dead. The father committed suicide after shooting his daughter.
  • In 2012, a non-custodial father in Utah abducted and killed his 7- and 5-year-old sons and then committed suicide. He was angry over not being afforded sole custody of the children.

“In contrast to international parental abductions, our analysis indicates that domestic custodial abductions are more likely to have violent outcomes for children,” Douglas explained, adding that a number of factors contribute to this trend. About 46 percent of American children are born to unwed parents, and 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. That usually leaves one parent with custody of the child.

Douglas offers a suggestion to help keep children safe: Custodial parents should inform schools, after-care facilities, babysitters, and others who may at times be responsible for their children about what custody agreements are in place so that kids are not mistakenly released to non-custodial parents.

“The other big takeaway from our analysis,” she added, “is that law enforcement must act quickly in non-custodial abductions to keep children from being harmed. It’s mind-boggling to think that a parent would hurt their child to retaliate against the other parent,” Douglas said, “but in that moment, they make themselves believe that it’s okay.”

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The Faroe Islands, a nightmare of Parental Child Abduction – Miriam bortført til Færøerne

June 2 , 2013

Source: ABP World Group and

The Faroe Islands, a black hole of parental child abduction

Children were considered “treasures” in some peaceful, primitive societies where parents would not punish them physically and would strive to keep the child sheltered from all threats. This natural instinct of protecting one’s child seems to have been weakened by the transformation in human societies like the Faroe Islands. The Faroe Islands refuse to respect any international laws, or to take any legal steps to stop the rapid growing child abduction wave to the islands.


The Faroe Islands, is one of the black holes of Parental Child Abduction, a real nightmare and a society that don`t respect anyone outside their community. We recommend people to not do any business with Faroe companies, or to go there on holidays until they stop breaking the human rights. Ban the islands until they start sending the abducted children back to their legal but devastated parents.

This is the latest Danish article about a child abducted from Denmark to The Faroe Islands:

Les også : Færøerne, et pedo paradis

Miriam bortført til Færøerne

Forældrenes skilsmisse var hård for lille Miriam. Men i det mindste boede både hendes mor og far i Hvide Sande, så hun kunne være tæt på dem begge. Men så tog ekskonen loven i egen hånd og flyttede med den toårige pige til Færøerne. Det har ændret alt.


I en by på Færøerne sidder en lille pige på nu fire år og savner en af de vigtigste personer i sit liv. Men der kan gå lang tid, inden Miriam igen ser sin far. 

Da hendes mor tog loven i egen hånd og bortførte hende til Færøerne, mistede datteren mere, end hun aner. Drypvis er hendes far ved at forsvinde ud af hendes liv. Ude og Hjemme har set nærmere på den ulyksalige skilsmisse. Flemming fulgte reglerne – og tabte. Greta brød dem – og vandt. Sådan føles det i hvert fald for Flemming Olesen, 32-årig elektriker fra Vestjylland.

– Det er håbløst. Jeg er i færd med at miste min datter, siger han. 

Fyldt med legetøj

Ude og Hjemme besøger ham i hans hus. Over fjernsynet hænger et stort foto af en smilende Miriam. En lyserød klapstol med dukke står klar ved siden af et velassorteret dukkehus. I et hjørne har Flemming parkeret det smarte trehjulede løbehjul Miriam fik i julegave. Ovenpå finder vi børneværelset, der er fyldt med legetøj, sirligt placeret på borde og hylder.

– Det er jo også hendes hjem, selv om hun ikke er her så tit, lyder det fra Flemming, der også har pakket gaver til sin datters fem års fødselsdag her i maj. De står på bordet klar til at blive sendt til Færøerne.

Løber tør for penge

– Jeg kæmper for at holde kontakten til Miriam. Men jeg kan godt se, hvilken vej, det går. Jeg tror min ekskone bevidst venter på, at jeg løber tør for penge, så jeg ikke længere har mulighed for at se Miriam, siger Flemming.


Han havde sidst sin datter på besøg i påsken. Og før det i julen. Besøg som Rigsombuddet på Færøerne har bevilget ham. Men afstanden til Færøerne og prisen for at flyve er blevet et enormt problem. Hver tur derop og retur med datteren koster hver gang mellem 9.000 og 13.000 kroner. På et halvt år har Flemming brugt 50.000 kroner på at hente og bringe Miriam retur til sin mor. Og nu er kassen næsten tom.

LÆS OGSÅ: Gør plads til far i børnenes liv

– Jeg synes, det er forkert, at Miriam på den måde skal miste sin far. At jeg skal miste kontakten til min datter. Jeg har ikke mulighed for at blive ved med at hente hende. Jeg har ikke råd, siger Flemming, der står uforstående over for retssystemets adfærd.

Rejste til Færøerne

Sagen er nemlig, at hans eks-kone efter separationen i september 2011 i al hemmelighed besluttede at bortføre datteren til Færøerne. På det tidspunkt havde Flemming og Greta fælles forældremyndighed efter de danske regler. Greta havde flyttet adressen til et andet hus, så Miriam kunne vokse op med god kontakt til både mor og far. På trods af skilsmissen, så det ud til, at de to voksne havde fundet en holdbar vej for fremtiden.

Men Greta iværksatte nu en hemmelig plan. Den 17. september 2011 rejste hun med Mariam til Færøerne.  Tre dage senere fik Flemming et telefonopkald.

– Jeg har tænkt mig at blive heroppe sammen med Miriam, lød det fra Greta.

Allerede to dage efter – den 23. september – anlagde hun retssag på Færøerne for at få den fulde forældremyndighed over Miriam. Samtidig blev Miriams cpr-nummer lavet om til et færøsk cpr-nummer og hendes adresse registreret på Færøerne.

Belønnet for at bryde loven

Flemming var nu tvunget til at rejse frem og tilbage til Færørene for at hente og være sammen med sin datter. Flemmings advokat, Allan B. Møller fra Holstebro, kalder sagen en klar sag om børnebortførelse – en forbrydelse, der under normale omstændigheder kan give op til flere års fængsel.

– Hvis man bryder loven, skal det det have en konsekvens. Her får man i stedet en belønning. Det er højest udsædvanligt, lyder det fra advokaten.

Flemming reagerede dog som en rigtig vestjyde. Roligt og afbalanceret.

– Jeg ville ikke gøre noget, der kunne ødelægge mine muligheder for at få forældremyndigheden, siger han.

Tilsyneladende var det en god strategi. Dommen faldt den 2. juli 2012. Retten på Færørene vurderede nemlig, at Flemming skulle have den fulde forældremyndighed og at Miriam fremover skulle bo hos sin far.

Tabte ankesag

– Jeg var selvfølgelig lykkelig den dag. Jeg troede, at også Greta ville flytte med tilbage, så Miriam ville have både sin mor og far, fortæller Flemming. Men her forregnede han sig.

Greta ankede nemlig sagen, og kunne dermed beholde datteren på Færøerne indtil ankesagen. Og den gik anderledes. Her vurderede Østre Landsret, at Miriam nu havde boet så længe hos sin mor på Færøerne, at Greta skulle have forældremyndigheden.

– Jeg synes, det er grotesk. Hun bortfører vores datter til Færøerne. Og bliver belønnet for det.  Men vores datter bliver ramt. Hun mister kontakten til sin far, siger Flemming.

Greta har ikke ønsket at kommentere sagen.  Hun har dog mailet følgende:

”Jeg håber stadig, at Flemming holder kontakt til Miriam i fremtiden og jeg vil gøre mit bedste for, at det kan lade sig gøre.”

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November 21, 2012


Having done legal work for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for decades, the most important thing to know is that, not only is family abduction a crime, it is considered a form of child abuse.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: “family abduction has been characterized as a form of child abuse because of the harmful effects it has on children. Abducted children may be forced to lead a fugitive life under assumed names, sometimes with altered appearances, and kept out of school to avoid detection. The abductor may tell them the left-behind parent abandoned them, does not love them, or is dead. They may be neglected by their abductors and indoctrinated to fear law-enforcement officers and other adults who might help them.

In addition to possible long-term psychological harm, abducted children may be physically harmed at the time of the abduction as well as during the period of concealment. Parents most likely to harm their children are those who have serious mental and personality disorders, a history of violence or abuse, or little or no prior relationship with their child.

If you have ever seen the heartache of a parent who doesn’t know if their child(ren) is alive or dead, you will take this seriously. The last time I was involved in a Family Abduction, the abductor was found living on the West Coast, in a campgroup, with the children, by alert citizens who had seen the children on a milk carton.

For more information about the impact of abduction on victim children contact Take Root, an organization of adult members who were victims of parental abduction as children. or call toll-free at 1-800-ROOT-ORG (1-800-766-8674).”

For even a more in-depth look at Family Abduction please see the link below.


One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available

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NOTE: We are always available 24/7

U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443

UK Phone Number: 020 3239 0013

Or you can call our 24h Emergency phone number: +47 4550 4271

She Thought I was abducting my own daughter..


I arrived at our local cafe to meet my wife for our weekly session of cross-referencing our calendars. Our respective schedules can change quite drastically from one day to the next (one of the many exciting quirks of a life in the performing arts), so without these sessions our lives would very quickly descend into chaos. Near the top of the list of our biggest fears as parents is to be standing in the kitchen at about 4:30pm on a weekday shouting, “No, YOU were supposed to pick her up!” back and forth as we scramble for car keys and phones and the school’s office number and our self-respect.

With us on this particular morning is our darling three-year-old daughter. Our eldest was at school. On Mondays, there is a yoga class held opposite the cafe in a lovely, glass-fronted room that overlooks the sea. It’s a bit pretty. My three-year-old likes to peer into said room through the glass while the three or four women do their class. The yoga women think she’s adorable; she’s like their little yoga mascot. My wife and I finish our calendar session and say a fond farewell, safe in the knowledge that the next week is mapped out to within a nanosecond. She goes outside, gives our daughter a kiss and leaves. After a moment or two more I finish my coffee, make my way to the counter and pay while exchanging some pleasant small talk with the staff, some of whom babysit for us from time to time. We’re not regulars at this place. We’re part of the furniture.

I walk outside and go and squat beside my daughter who is still gawking at the yoga women, her nose squished against the glass. I tell her we have to go now. She asks if we can go to the park. I tell her that we’ll have to wait until it stops raining. She’s happy with that. So I proffer my hand, she takes it and we wander happily back to the car. We are just arriving at the car when I hear a female voice behind us, “Sweetie. Sweetie?”

I recognise the voice, although the slight quiver in it sounds odd.

I turn around to see a woman I recognise as the yoga instructor approaching us. She looks concerned. She is not looking at me at all. She is bending down and trying to get my daughter’s attention. “Sweetie, where’s your Mum? Where’s Mummy, sweetie?”

Oh dear. The penny drops quickly, like mercury. Oh dearie, dearie me.

I adopt my friendliest smile, “Oh, it’s ok. I’m her dad.”

By this stage I am helping my daughter into the car. The yoga instructor ignores me completely. She is wringing her hands and trying to manoeuvre herself between me and the car door. She speaks again to my daughter, this time with more urgency and insistence, her voice starting to crack, “Princess. Where’s mummy? Where’s your mummy, sweetie?”

Oh dear. At this point I am processing a litany of emotional responses, all of which are making me feel very queezy.  For the sake of the situation, I persist. “It’s ok. I really am her dad. You were chatting to my wife before. I’ll call her if you like. Or we could pop back into the café if you like. The girls in there know us really well.” I’m babbling.

The yoga instructor looks me in the eye for the first time. I smile again, trying way too hard to reassure her. She is visibly shaking. She is a small, middle-aged woman with blonde hair and a comfortable gray tracksuit. Her eyes dart back to my daughter, then to me again. She stumbles through her words like Snow White bolting through the forest, “I’m sorry it’s just we see her at our classes every week and we…we’re all very fond of her and… and I… I’ve never… I don’t, I mean I didn’t…”

“It’s ok,” I say again, starting to feel a bit shaky myself, “it’s great to know there are other eyes on her.”

It’s all I could think to say.

We stand there for a moment. My daughter is in her car seat now, slipping her arms into the straps and struggling with the clip that she can never do up. She looks up at me and barks an order in her inimitable way,

“Daddy, help!”

The yoga instructor’s shoulders slump a little and she exhales a quick, audible breath. I look at her and say, “It’s ok,” again. It’s sounding like a mantra now. The yoga instructor doesn’t know where to look. She is shaking her head quite fast and her eyebrows are raised and she is breathing quickly. She manages some words.

“Right. Sorry.”

“It’s ok, really.”

She looks at my daughter one more time and gives her a little wave. Then she turns away very quickly and walks at an awkward pace back towards her yoga class, rubbing her forehead. She is still shaking her head. She doesn’t look back. I know this because I watched her walk away until she was out of sight. I couldn’t move.

And now I’m sitting here writing it all down, and can’t help but think about the whole episode from the yoga instructor’s perspective: a little girl pressing her face against the glass and watching the yoga class, as she always does; the little girl’s mum saying hello and apologising for her daughter’s intrusive behaviour, as she always does; the mum leaving; the little girl smiling in on the women doing their yoga; a man approaching the little girl, squatting down and talking to her, then taking her by the hand and walking away with her.

And in the short time it took me to get to the car, this woman had decided that she must go after the little girl and make sure she’s alright. This small, middle-aged woman scuttled out of her yoga class – and that’s the other thing! Did the yoga class watch it all unfold in horror? Did they all question who I was and what was happening?

“Does anyone recognise him? Anyone?”

“No, I’ve never seen him with her.”

“I haven’t either.”

“Oh God.”

And she came right up to the man who measures six foot two and weighs 90 kilos and asked the little girl where her mummy was because she felt she had to; because they’re all very fond of this little girl who stares at them through the glass on Monday mornings. The yoga instructor in the comfortable tracksuit didn’t look the other way or let it slide or shake it off or just shrug and presume the best. She chose not only to assume the worst, she chose to do something about it.

On the drive home from the café I was angry. I felt ill. I was frowning and shaking my head and muttering profanities, most probably because I couldn’t shake the thought that somebody actually believed I might have been abducting a child. My child. But once I got home, and with the benefit of a sliver of hindsight, all I could think was, “What a champion.” And I said it out loud to myself. “What a champion.”

We are constantly informed of how much evil exists is in the world. We are bombarded withhorrendous stories of child abuse, abduction, murder; you name it. We get it from those who report fact and we get it from those who create fiction. I feel like we’ve never been made more aware of the capacity for people to be horrible creatures.

I can’t presume to know what motivated that yoga instructor to do what she did. Maybe her actions were fuelled by paranoia. Maybe she’s been convinced to believe that a man on his own taking a little girl’s hand has as much chance of being a paedophile as he does of being her father. Maybe it was just blind instinct. I don’t know. I don’t care. I choose to stand and applaud her, because I believe what she chose to do was the right thing; was good.

Next Monday I am going to walk into that yoga class with my daughter in tow and introduce myself properly to the small, middle-aged yoga instructor. I am going to offer her my genuine thanks. I will not accept any embarrassed apology she may offer, because she owes noone an apology, least of all me. And if it feels like it’d be ok, I will give her a hug. And then I will tell her that I think she is a champion.

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Philippines: Manila to host international conference on child abuse

MANILA, Philippines – Hundreds of delegates from the Philippines and around the world are expected to attend the annual Ako Para Sa Bata (I Am For The Child) Manila Conference to be held at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Manila from Dec. 5 to 7.

Organized by the Child Protection Network Foundation (CPN), the three-day conference with the themeCreating Safe and Caring Environments for Children is set to discuss key issues and feasible measures to effectively combat child neglect.

“Child neglect is one of the most prevalent forms of child abuse. We forget abuse is not limited to the physical aspect, there are also many environmental factors that threaten the emotional wellness of children,” said Dr. Bernadette Madrid, executive director of CPN.

Last year’s conference proved to be a success as it was attended by more than 650 participants, including representatives from government and non-government organizations (NGOs), domestic and international law enforcement agencies, medical professionals, academia, as well as parents, social workers, youth and children organizations and the media.

“We will be presenting a comprehensive review of the latest research, on-the-ground experience and different perspectives in tackling child neglect. By bringing together the diverse groups we hope to come up with recommendations that are inclusive, practical and doable in the Philippine setting,” said Dr. Stella Manalo, Organizing Committee Conference chair.

The two-day symposia will tackle a wide range of topics including media, sex and violence; proper media diet for children; family values in children; preventing child neglect and child endangerment; safe havens for children in times of disaster/in areas of conflict; caring homes; changing Filipino perspectives in adoption issues; non-violence in the school; and safety in the field, in court or at home.

Post Conference Workshops will be also conducted by the Philippine Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Philippine Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Society of Adolescent Medicine of the Philippines, Inc., PsychConsult, Inc. and CPN itself.

“The nation cannot afford not to prevent the abuse of its children. Through proper support, training and resources, we can ensure every child gets the bright, safe and healthy future they deserve,” concluded Dr. Madrid.

Interested delegates and sponsors may contact the Event Manager, Global-Link MP Events International, Inc. at 750-8588/887-1304; fax no. 750-8585/887-1304 or e-mail  for details.

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