Dutch TV to air international parental child abduction show


December 7, 2012

Source: International-Family-Law.EU

Dutch television is to air a show about international parental child abduction. Starting on December 16, commercial television network RTL4 is to air “Ontvoerd”, a series in which crime journalist John van den Heuvel tries to locate and reunite children with their legal custodial parents.

JOHN-VAN-DEN-HEUVEL-445x250

Van den Heuvel is known in the Netherlands as a reporter about high-profile crime cases, working for, among others, De Telegraaf and commercial television. It is the first time in the Netherlands a Dutch network is broadcasting a show entirely about international parental child abduction.

In a press release, RTL4 states that Van den Heuvel has made the “best interest of the child” has his top priority in the show. Therefore, in some cases, the actual reunion between parent and child will not be broadcast.

The first broadcast focuses on an 8-year old boy taken from his mother, the boy’s legal guardian, in the Netherlands. Van den Heuvel tracks him down in Bosnia, where he was taken to by his Bosnian father. The boy apparently lives in deplorable conditions. Van den Heuvel does not succeed in reuniting the boy with his mother.

However, following Dutch media reports about the boy, pressure has increased on Dutch politicians, including the minister of foreign affairs, to look into the matter.

Even before the first show in the series has been aired on Dutch tv, television network RTL4 has commissioned a second series on the same subject from Van den Heuvel, to be broadcast in the 2012-2013 season.

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Child abduction issue should be key concern in Japan-U.S. relations


Source: Japan Today

TOKYO —

The issue of international child abductions in Japan should be a key concern in bilateral relations between Japan and the United States.

For years, the international community has been pressuring Japan to abide by international human rights standards in preventing cross-border parental kidnapping.

Japan has been censured for not being a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which protects children from wrongful removal or retention from their habitual place of residence.

Though former Prime Minister Naota Kan announced on May 20 last year that Japan intends to sign The Hague Convention, Japan is the only G8 member that has yet to become a signatory. LBPs (Left Behind Parents) are cautious to find the signing as reason to cheer because changes are also needed in Japan’s family courts for them to be reunited with their children. The continued condoning of both domestic and international child abduction cases can be traced to Japan’s family court.

Japan’s family court often awards sole custody to the parent with whom the child is residing. If the other parent wishes to see their child, permission by the parent to whom custodial rights were awarded becomes necessary.

This means that the parent who takes away the child from the other parent first will be in a superior bargaining position, since the family court overwhelmingly recognizes the status quo of whom the child is residing with.

Many LBPs have criticized the Japanese judicial system for condoning abduction by granting sole custody rights to the parent who snatches the child away first. In situations where cross-border kidnappings take place, the foreign parent is effectively powerless, as the Japanese family court will rule in favor of the parent with whom the child is residing. This has led some bereaved foreign LBPs to refer to Japan as a “black hole for child abduction.”

First, the Japanese government’s stance to become a signatory of The Hague Convention is an indication of changes in favor of adopting international human rights standards.

The move comes at a time when the numbers of international marriages and divorces are increasing in Japan. According to the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, approximately 19,000 international marriages ended in divorce last year in Japan, comprising 7.5% of the total number of divorces in Japan. In 2010, the ratio to divorces to all marriages in Japan was approximately 36%. Children of divorce are at significant risk of losing access to one parent in the current family law system.

Things are finally starting to change at both the international and domestic levels. There are two model cases, one in Wisconsin and one in Matsudo, Chiba.

Japan has stuck to awarding sole custody to one parent following a divorce since the Meiji era. Though some have mentioned this as evidence of sole custody being a part of Japan’s culture, in reality, this system has also created a legal system that condones child abductions.

In addition, on Dec 23, 2011, a girl was returned to her father in Wisconsin after being abducted by her Japanese mother nearly 4 years earlier, the first return of an abducted child from Japan by means of the courts.

She was reunited with her father when her mother, who had been arrested in April 2011 in Hawaii on child abduction charges, agreed to a plea bargain to be released from jail in exchange for returning their daughter to the United States.

The case, which received wide coverage in international and Japanese media, marked the first time for Japanese media such as NHK and Asahi to use the term “tsuresari” (abduction) rather than “tsurekaeru” (to bring home).

Of course, a plea bargain is still not the equivalent of a change in stance in Japan’s family court, but changes are also gradually being implemented in the domestic sphere as well.

Many people following the child abduction issue are closely monitoring the development of a high-profile domestic abduction case in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, to see if a judicial precedent making child abductions an unlawful act will be made.

On April 26, 2011, former Justice Minister Satsuki Eda mentioned three criteria that need to be considered in determining the custody of children after divorce, as stated in article 766, in his remarks to the Committee on Judicial Affairs.

The three criteria are: the abduction of children should be eligible for consideration as child abuse; the issuance of custody rights should favor parents who are willing to allow the other parent visitation of their children (also known as the “friendly parent rule”); and parents who commit unlawful abductions of their child should be at a disadvantage in the issuance of custody rights.

At the domestic level, article 766 of Japan’s civil code, which stipulates legal guidelines for the custody of children after divorce, was revised on June 3, 2011, to include a provision which states that visitation and economic support must be deliberated between the two spouses before divorce papers are submitted.

As stated in the “friendly parent rule,” one of the three criteria underlined by Eda, not allowing visitation, ought to work unfavorably toward obtaining custody rights. In cases where the child has already been abducted, the LBP may offer the abducting parent visitation in fighting to recover their child in court.

In effect, the revision of article 766 is significant, as the abduction of a child by a parent will be in breach of the new provision. This measure, if properly enforced by Japan’s family court, will help prevent the abduction of children by a parent.

However, when asked to recognize the remarks made by Eda, Tatsushige Wakabayashi, the judge presiding over the case, reportedly remarked, “What the justice minister says at the Diet is irrelevant.”

In response, various LBP groups have called for Wakabayashi to step down. Wakabayashi has yet to make a final verdict, leaving both domestic LBP groups and the international community tense anticipating his decision.

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Parental abduction of children to Russia


Source: Jewish Tribune

On Thursday, 28 July 2011, the Russian Federation deposited its instrument of accession to the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Convention will enter into force for the Russian Federation on 1 October 2011.  This means that for the first time ever, if a parent abducts her child to Russia, the parent left behind may be able to successfully apply to a Russian court to have the child returned and do so on a reasonably expedited basis.

Up until now, no Russian court would do so since under Russian law, even a child born in Canada to a Russian parent was deemed to be ‘Russian’ no matter how old that child may be.  In many cases, abducted children would be snatched from their Canadian homes, their schools, friends, relatives and the parent left behind in Ontario. The typical scenario occurs during a planned vacation when a Russian born mother announces she is leaving for a brief vacation with a child to visit her family in  Moscow or St. Petersburg.  Once there the mother (or father) announces that she (or he)  is not returning.  Moreover, she immediately obtains a court order from a Russian court for custody. A Canadian lawyer might then obtain a Canadian court order for custody in Canada and an Order for the return of the child, contact the RCMP and even retain a lawyer in the Russian Federation.  However, in the past, obtaining such a court Order in Ontario was useless as it would not be enforced by any Russian domestic court since the child would be considered Russian, no matter how many years he or she lived in Canada, and even if the child was born in Toronto.  It was only useful in the event the child ever left Russia since it could be enforced by the international police, INTERPOL.

If a parental abduction now takes place the parent in Canada should retain a competent Family Law lawyer in Ontario.  He or she would then call the Ontario Government at (416) 240-2484 to enforce the Hague Convention Treaty for the international abduction of children   The Ontario Government would contact the Russian Government which would notify the appropriate court in Russia.  The lawyer in Ontario would retain a lawyer in Russia to make the court application to return the children in accordance with the Hague Convention and help draft the court documents.   A parent “left behind” normally only has one year from the date of the abduction to file an application for the return of a child, but there are exceptions to the rule. There are also “defenses” to such an application.  For instance, if the child is old enough and insists that he or she does not wish to return to Canada or if the parent who left with the child  can prove that there was violence, the foreign Courts may possibly not enforce the Hague Convention. But these are defenses that do not normally succeed because in international family law such issues should be decided where the child normally resides.

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Child Abduction to Thailand


Phuket Boy Ricardo Among Rising Number of Abductions

By Chutima Sidasathian,Phuketwan Friday, July 1, 2011

PHUKET: Figures show the number of British children abducted by a parent and taken abroad is increasing, with Thailand a favored destination. Pakistan and India rank first and third in numerical terms, sandwiching Thailand. The Foreign Office said that 161 children had been taken over the past 12 months to countries that are outside an international treaty designed to ensure the return of wrongfully removed minors.

On Phuket, parental abduction is known to be an issue. The most prominent case has been the twice-abducted Ricardo Choosaneh, a nine-year-old first taken by his Thai mother from his father in the Netherlands, then taken from Phuket by his foster mother earlier this year. His mother, Sumetra Choosaneh, told Phuketwan in an interview in Bangkok in March that she planned to go to Europe to regain her boy – but through the courts this time.

Khun Sumetra and her family say that the father has never been a good provider and continues to use possession of the boy as a means to extract money from others and to gain government housing in the Netherlands. Britain’s Foreign Office admitted that true figures on abductions are likely to be much higher because many cases go unreported. AFP reported that although Pakistan, Thailand and India topped the list of nations involved, there were cases in another 94 countries that are outside the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne told the news agency: ”Finding a solution can be especially difficult if a child has been taken to a non-Hague country as there are no international systems in place to help you. This is why prevention is so important.” The Phuket case of young Ricardo has brought international attention, with a television show in the Netherlands encouraging support from viewers for the boy’s father, Michael Roland van Alphen. However, Khun Sumetra and her family maintain that Phuket-born Ricardo, abducted twice in the space of nine months, should never have been snatched on the second occasion by foster mother Kimberley Ching-Yong because the boy’s future is brighter on Phuket.

Only a court, having listened carefully to both sides, can settle the matter with the best interests of the child to the fore. As Sharon Cooke, advice line manager for Reunite International Child Abduction Centre, told AFP: ”The psychological impact on children can be traumatic and for the left-behind parent, the shock and loss are unbearable, particularly if they don’t know where their child is.”

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International Child Abduction / Parental Kidnapping – Recovery Services


International Child Abduction is tragically a global epidemic.

Leading experts believe that due to the rapid growth in multi-national marriages and relationships, the number of children born from parents of different countries will continue to expand. Similar to all relationships, a significant portion of these marriages or partnerships will end in divorce. All too often, one of the separating parents of the child of the relationship will seek to abduct the child to a country other than where the child has lived.

This is called ‘International Parental Child Abduction’, and though there are various civil remedies available to targeted parents who have had their child abducted, the challenges they face are grave, and include first and foremost, locating where the child is located. Unfortunately for the majority of targeted parents, the financial burden for recovery and litigation falls on their shoulders. With tens of thousands of children parentally abducted each year, the reality is too many of these children never come home. ABP World Group is dedicated to assisting parents in need of assistance in locating, rescuing, and safely bringing home your abducted child.

Our intelligence and investigation abilities combined with our ability to dispatch personnel to most locations in the world offer a safe and strategic solution to protecting your most important asset: your child.

Areas of expertise:

Parental abduction

Missing children

Kidnappings

Counter Kidnapping

Anti Kidnapping

Runaway children

Reunification Counseling

Unfortunately in this day and time parental kidnapping happens and we are here to help you trough this difficult period. We are aware parental child abduction can be difficult to resolve, but we use professional operatives with the skills and expertise to help find a resolution.

One key to ABP World Group’s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available including, but not limited to:

Electronic Forensic Foot printing Investigations

Intelligence Gathering

Information Specialists/Skip Tracing

Evidence Procurement

Interview/Evaluation

Surveillance Special Ops

Non-Combatant Evacuation Ops

Domestic Support

International Operations

Maritime/Land/Air transport

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Only 5-10% of abducted children are annually recovered because of the Hague Convention


Many left-behind parents are told that the Hague Convention will bring about the return of their abducted children. Some authorities say that if your child is abducted, you should follow procedures outlined by the Hague, but we don’t agree.

Only 5-10% of abducted children are annually recovered because of the Hague Convention

Until 1980, there was no international system in place to help parents recover abducted children who had been taken to other nations. The Hague Convention attempted to create one, but it doesn’t work. If you take the time to read the well-intentioned text of the Hague, you’ll see its many flaws.

In our opinion, it’s not worth the large amounts of money, time and trouble to hire an attorney to try using the Hague Convention to get your child back. You aren’t likely to get him or her back — and even worse, the abducting parent could be “legitimized” by the courts in another nation.

Under the Hague Convention, a case must be filed in the country where the abductor has taken the child. The courts of that country tend to render their decisions in favor of their countrymen, as the Hague Convention focuses on residency, not citizenship. There is little concern for the fact that the child is a citizen of the country from which he or she was abducted, or for the possible detrimental effect on the child.

Even if the child was born in your country, if that child is found to be a “habitual resident” by the courts in another country, the child may be ordered to be returned to that country.

This underscores the need to act quickly.

Few, if any, of the Hague signatory countries are going to send anyone out to physically recover your child for you. Embassy officials will check on the child’s welfare, if it is known where the child is and if the abducting parent lets them.

As soon as abducting parents are aware that that they’ve been located, they’ll usually disappear with the children again.

And about hiring lawyers

You need to be aware that a great amount of money has been spent on lawyers in foreign abduction cases. The unfortunate fact is that they, most often, can’t practice in the foreign courts and are required to hire associate lawyers in the foreign country.

Note: they often have no qualifications or experience working with child abduction cases.

More money…

Educate yourself

Many resources are available to help you learn about parental child abduction. If you’re dealing with an abduction, the better informed you are, the better equipped you’ll be to cope.

Recover your child

Time is of the essence. Parentally abducted children are helpless on their own and confused by the irrational and sometimes abusive acts of non-custodial parents who are supposed to have their best interests in mind. ABP World Group Ltd. has the manpower and the know-how to rigorously cover all avenues, and bring your child home.

 

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Attorney advise non-custodial parents to request the children’s passports be held by the Court


A TIP FOR PREVENTING PARENTAL ABDUCTION OF A CHILD TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY

CNN posted an article in October of 2009 that raised the question about what a parent can do to prevent child abduction. According to the article, Christopher Savoie, an American father, was granted full custody of his children by a Tennessee Court after learning that they were removed to Japan without his consent by their mother. He went to Japan to retrieve the children and was put in jail for his attempt to abduct his own children.

Japan is not a signator to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Mr. Savoie was arrested by Japanese police officers called by the children’s mother when he attempted to take the children to the American consulate to obtain their passports to return to the U.S.

In cases involving worries of abduction, I advise non-custodial parents to request the children’s passports be held by the Court. A passport may be issued to a parent with sole custody, and any parent with worry that the other may abduct the child is encouraged to push for a joint legal custody order, to prevent the unconsented-to issuance of a passport. Additionally, when parties settle, I include language indicating that Minnesota shall have sole exclusive jurisdiction over custody and parenting time disputes. However, I also advise my clients that I cannot guarantee a foreign Court will feel bound by that language.

The U.S. State Department’s web site for obtaining a passport for a minor child can be reached at http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/minors/minors_834.html.

The passport application form specifies the document requirements to obtain a passport, which include:

To submit an application for a child under age 16 both parents or the child’s legal guardian(s) must appear and present the following:

  • Evidence of the child’s U.S. citizenship,
  • Evidence of the child’s relationship to parents/guardian(s), AND
  • Parental/guardian identification.

 

IF ONLY ONE PARENT APPEARS YOU MUST ALSO SUBMIT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:

  • Second parent’s notarized written statement consenting to passport issuance for the child,
  • Primary evidence of sole authority to apply, OR
  • A written statement (made under penalty of perjury) explaining the second parent’s unavailability.

Cooper & Reid, LLC is a Minnesota law firm focusing on family law and social security disability matters for clients of modest means. Our community-focused practice brings many years of experience and high-quality legal representation to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it. We offer sliding scale fees to low-income clients and innovative representation arrangements for pro se litigants. Find out more about Cooper & Reid, LLC at www.cooperandreid.com 

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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Three out of every four children who are internationally abducted are never returned to the parent left behind.


Three out of every four children who are internationally abducted by one of their parents are never returned to the parent left behind.

Despite violating US custody laws, parents who manage to run away with their children across national borders often find it relatively easy to hide behind complicated international conventions and bureaucracy. The Japanese abduction cases highlighted in one of our previous blog posts provides an excellent example of just how difficult it can be to resolve international abduction cases. These discouraging facts emphasize how fortunate one father is after being recently reunited with his 5-year-old daughter who was taken to Europe by her mother 10 months ago.

The young girl and her mother were found by authorities in Germany, after the child’s father was alerted as to their whereabouts by an informant. The father had published information about his missing daughter on the Internet, which promoted a German citizen to recognize the child’s face and contact her father.

The 5-year-old’s mother violated the couple’s custody agreement last June, when she reportedly told the girl’s father that they were taking a vacation to Arizona. The father first became concerned when he found himself unable to contact his ex-spouse and the police started investigating the case after the mother sent an email confessing that she had taken their daughter “somewhere else.”

Fortunately, thanks to the informant’s tip, authorities were able to track down the mother-daughter pair and placed the child with a temporary German foster family while she waits to be extradited back to the US. The girl’s father described their reunion as an emotional, joyous event for both himself and his daughter.

The girl’s mother will face felony charges for breaking the family’s legal custody arrangement.

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International child abduction to Mexico


Mexico is amongst the world’s most popular sources and destinations for international child abduction while also being widely regarded as having one of the least effective systems of protecting and returning internationally abducted children within its borders.

To help protect abducted children Mexico signed on to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in 1991,[1] and the Inter-American Convention on the International Return of Children

Since adhering to the Hague Abduction Convention, the world’s most recognized and utilized instrument for addressing international child abduction, Mexico has been repeatedly criticized for enjoying the benefit of having its treaty partners protect Mexico’s own internationally abducted children, while being consistently non-compliant in fulfilling its reciprocal obligations to protect and return children abducted to Mexico. To date its procedures for enforcing its treaty obligations are unpredictable and entirely ineffective. The Centre for International Family Law Studies in Cardiff, Wales compared seven jurisdictions, including Mexico. The conclusion was that Mexico was by far the worst offender in its failure to return abducted children.

Merely because a country is a party to the Hague Convention does not mean that it will effectively enforce its treaty obligations. For example, the U.S. State Department has asserted that Mexico is “non-compliant” with the terms of the Convention. U.S State Department Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, 2004. Mexico’s noncompliance results from the following problems:

  • Mexico has not enacted any legislation to implement the Hague Convention, which has not been integrated into the Mexican legal system.
  • The Mexican Central Authority has no law enforcement powers and Mexican law enforcement agencies make no serious efforts to locate parentally abducted children.
  • The burden of finding an abducted child in Mexico is left entirely to the left-behind parent. Mexican authorities provide no effective help and if the child cannot be located, nothing happens.
  • There is an apparent lack of understanding of the Convention among the judiciary in Mexico.
  • The Mexican Central Authority does not have adequate resources to perform its functions under the Convention.
  • The “amparo” (a special appeal in Mexico claiming a violation of constitutional rights) is used by taking parents to block Hague proceedings indefinitely.
  • Mexican courts are able to reconsider the facts of a Hague at any stage of the proceeding, which allows proceedings to be prolonged substantially.

Accordingly, custody orders concerning parents with strong ties to Mexico must be drafted so as to minimize the risk that the child will be taken to that country. It would be reckless to permit a Mexican parent who has expressed a desire to move to Mexico, and who has strong family or business ties to Mexico, to take a child into that country for a visit, regardless of the conditions that may be imposed to encourage the parent to bring the child back to this country.

The State Department’s 2004 report establishes that similar concerns exist with respect to Austria, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mauritius, Turkey and Romania and, to a somewhat lesser extent, several other countries.

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Parental Abduction – When Parents Kidnap Their Own


By: Carma Haley 

An estimated 355,000 children are abducted from their homes each year, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). These children can go days, weeks, months or even years with no contact from anyone except their abductor. And many of these children are not taken by strangers: They are abducted by their own parents.

There are some who claim kidnapping their own children is the only option they have, but what about the other parent — and what about the child?



Mark Samrodan, spokesman for NCMEC, says parental kidnapping is the practice of a noncustodial parent taking a child from the custodial parent from one state to another without court permission or in violation of court orders obtained through a divorce or custody hearing. The practice of parental kidnapping is forbidden by both federal and state laws in the absence of a provable emergency situation and can result in the noncustodial parent being charged with felony kidnapping. But often this threat does not stop parental kidnapping from occurring.

Who Kidnaps?

Research completed by the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrown-away Children (NISMART), which was founded by the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, states there are many reasons parents may resort to abducting their children. These reasons include using a child as a “pawn” in contentious divorce proceedings, as an extension of battering, to control their spouse or ex-spouse by depriving them of custody or visitation of the child, or to protect the child from abuse. 

“My husband and I obtained legal custody of our granddaughter when it was determined that her mom was unable to take care of her,” says Shirley Sunderland, from Altoona, Pa. “When the baby was 3 months old I was working at the local hospital and often had difficulty finding a sitter for the evening shift. [My daughter] offered to take care of her for that one night. When I got home, the baby was gone and so were some of her belongings. I got a cold feeling in the pit of my stomach and then realized that the baby had been kidnapped by her own mother.”

The Missing Children’s Registry of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada has developed an overall profile of parental abductions. The profile was constructed to assist those whose child has been abducted by a parent and includes facts such as:

  • Either parent, mother or father, will abduct his or her own child.
  • Mothers tend to abduct children after a court order is completed while fathers do so before the court order.
  • Mothers who abduct their children will keep the children for a longer period of time then fathers who abduct.
  • The “average” age range for parents who abduct their child is 28 to 40 years of age.
  • The fathers who abduct their children are likely to have employment while the mothers who abduct are more likely to be unemployed.
  • The majority of children who are abducted by their own parent but kept within the United States are between 3 and 7 years of age, but children who are taken out of the country tend to be 8 years of age or older.
  • Both male and female children are abducted equally.
  • The majority of children abducted by their own parent are done so from the home and not from areas such as a babysitters, daycare or schoolyard.
  • The abductor, both mother and father, typically makes contact within 48 hours of abducting the child to inform the searcing parent of the child’s well being.
The Other Side of the Coin

The typical reasons are not the only reasons a parent may feel they have no alternative but to kidnap their own child. Many believe the justification of parental abduction go beyond any of the reasons listed above as well as beyond the courtroom.”Dispelling typical myths that parents who kidnap their own child are doing so to get even with society and/or hurt their ex-spouse has proven quite difficult,” says Bonnie Russell, advocate for parental abduction prevention and former victim of a parental kidnapping from Solana Beach, Calif. “While some cases of parental abduction are due to this, it is more the exception then the rule. Other reasons include abuse, neglect, endangerment, unjust hearings or simple injustices. Until the underlying reason parents resort to kidnapping is addressed, no one will understand the subject.”

Some parents feel they have been treated inappropriately before, during or after a custody battle and this treatment played a role in losing custody of their children. For some of these parents, taking their child was their only option.

“My husband physically abused me for years,” says Carolyn Hawkins, a mother of two originally from Medina, Ohio. “And even though I reported him to the police numerous times, had a medical record as thick as a dictionay and had left him twice before, he was awarded custody of my children because he had more money and could hire a lawyer where mine was court appointed. The abuse I suffered led me into a depression and that was used against me in court. What else could I do but get my kids away from him?”

Alternatives to Kidnapping

Many services are available to help in the event of a situation that may be dangerous or harmful to a child. Social service departments, health departments and area chapters of Child Abuse Prevention agencies or even a school counselor can all help a parent who fears for their child’s welfare and safety.

In the event of a disputed divorce or custody order, a parent can move up the chain of command to find assistance or to have additional evidence heard, Samrodan says. If a parent is not in a financial situation to afford an attorney, local chapters of Legal Aid or free legal assistance can be found through social service offices.

“There is always something else that should be tried or attempted before a parent resorts to kidnapping their child,” says Samrodan. “Whether a local, state or federal organization, if a parent truly feels they need assistance, then they can and will find it — all they need to do is ask.”

If a parent suspects the noncustodial parent may abduct their child, they should file an order with the court to investigate a possible parental kidnapping which can assist them in getting a visitation order held until the threat has passed. In the event of a continued threat or possible attempts to abduct the child, the custodial parent should file an order with the court to have the noncustodial parent’s visitation revised to prevent an abduction from taking place, Samrodan says.

“It only takes a few minutes and a little bit of effort to et help when a parent fears their child may or will be abducted by their noncustodial parent,” says Samrodan. “If they need assistance, anyone at the courthouse would be happy to help — again, all that needs to be done is to ask.”

The Effects on the Child

Recent research conducted by NISMART states children endure adverse consequences from being abducted. Besides emotional turmoil, children may suffer from inadequate schooling, poor nutrition, unstable lifestyles and neglect. Some are abandoned, only to be discovered living in foster homes. In the most egregious cases, children suffer long-term harm that may leave them scarred for life. The belief that a child is safe with a parent lessens the chance of aggressive investigation by law enforcement, NISMART states. Yet one study reported 49 percent of abductors have previously established criminal histories and 75 percent of abducting fathers have a history of violent behavior.

After the child is located, researchers suggest that the police encourage both the parent and the child to receive a psychological and physical evaluation.

While Samrodan says parents may feel there is no other alternative, parental kidnapping only adds to the problems. He says parents can often avoid the situation if they are willing to work together and through the courts to find what the best schedule or routine that offers the child time with both parents.

“The system is not perfect and may not always offer the perfect solution the first time around,” says Samrodan. “But taking a child away from what they know as home; what they know as friends; and what they know as stability can and will only add to the hurt and trauma of all those involved. There are other ways and there are people to help you find them. Think before you take your child.”

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