28 children taken to Ireland from UK in parental abduction cases


30 December 2013

Source: TheJournal.ie

BRITISH GOVERNMENT FIGURES show there were 28 cases in the past year involving children who were abducted from a parent or guardian in the UK and taken to Ireland.

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Total figures for parental child abduction and international custody cases have been revealed by authorities in Britain as they seek to raise awareness of the problem ahead of an expected spike in cases after Christmas.

They relate to cases whereby a child was taken out of the UK against the stipulation of a court order or against the will of one parent.

The number of cases involving the Foreign Office has more than doubled in the last decade, from 272 in 2003-2004 to 580 in the past year. Cases involving children taken to Ireland accounted for the fourth largest number of such incidents; Pakistan accounted for 35 cases, followed by the US (32) and Poland (29).

Contrary to the belief that fathers are most often to blame, mothers are responsible for 70 percent of the abductions, the Foreign Office said. Charities involved in child abduction said there was a spike in cases just after Christmas last year, and again in September following the summer holidays.

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Figures from the Department of Justice here show there were 83 cases of suspected abduction in in 2012 relating to attempts to bring children out of the country. The Department also dealt with 64 cases involving children entering the state.

Speaking earlier this year upon the release of the Irish figures, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said that parental-child abductions remained a “worrying problem”.

The UK Foreign Office has produced this video aimed at encouraging parents to consider the consequences of taking a child out of the country without permission…

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In International Child Abduction Cases – quiet diplomacy is not working


December 29, 2013

Source:  Washington Post

SEAN GOLDMAN was 4 years old when his Brazilian-born mother took him from their New Jersey home for what Sean’s father, David Goldman, thought would be a two-week vacation. Five years passed before the father again laid eyes on his son.

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“It was very painful,’’ David Goldman recalled. “The first time I saw him after nearly five years, he looked at me and asked me where have I been all this time. . . . He was told that I didn’t love him, that I abandoned him, that I never wanted him.”

The only unusual feature of this story is that David Goldman eventually regained custody, though even after the boy’s mother died in 2008 her Brazilian family continued to resist his efforts. He succeeded in part because Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)relentlessly focused attention and pressure on the case. Now a bill written by Mr. Smith, the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act, has been approved by the House, 398 to 0, and is set for consideration in the Senate. But the State Department doesn’t want the additional diplomatic tools the bill would provide.

According to State, 1,144 children were reported abducted from the United States in 2012. There were 1,367 in 2011 and 1,492 in 2010. State Department officials say they work hard to get those children back — or at least to get the cases fairly adjudicated — but they can’t or won’t say how many of those abducted children remain overseas. That raises questions about their claims for success for “quiet diplomacy.”

In a letter to Mr. Smith, Robert E. Wallace, executive director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), said the abduction of children by a separated spouse is a particular problem for service members, especially in Japan. Mr. Wallace said the service members’ appeals for help “are too often met with bad legal advice, misinformation or indifference. . . . It is time for the U.S. government to take concrete action.” An organization of victimized parents said that the result of quiet diplomacy is “that the Government of Japan has not once assisted in returning a single abducted child.” Japan at least is in the process of acceding to an international treaty on the subject; most countries have not done so.

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The House bill provides for a series of graduated sanctions against countries that demonstrate a pattern of non-cooperation; it also would encourage the United States to negotiate agreements with countries that have not ratified the treaty. In both cases, the executive branch would act only if it chose to do so; the bill provides for a presidential waiver. Nonetheless, a State Department official told us putting tools in the tool kit would be counterproductive because U.S. officials would face pressure to use them and other countries would resent the implied threat.

Given the administration’s inability to quantify its success, or to report any results at all, the argument for the status quo is not persuasive. An aide to Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told us that the committee will take the measure up soon. We hope soon means soon. For thousands of parents deprived of the chance even to communicate with their children, quiet diplomacy isn’t getting the job done.

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We Wish You All a Merry Christmas


From all of us, to all of you. Merry Christmas, may your Christmas holiday be safe and peaceful.

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What is Parental Child Abduction?


December 31, 2012

Parental child abduction occurs when a person who is connected to a child takes them away from their country of habitual residence, that is the country they normally reside in, without the permission of either those with parental responsibility or the courts.

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Most commonly, this takes place following a separation or divorce and is carried out by the parent who has not been awarded custody of the child.

Once a relatively rare phenomenon, an increase in cross-cultural marriages, higher divorce rates, changes in immigration laws and cheaper foreign travel have prompted a rise in international child custody disputes, some of which have resulted in parental child abduction as parents seek to take their children out of the country without permission.

Is It A Criminal Offence For A Parent To Abduct A Child?

Under the Child Abduction Act of 1984, it is a criminal offence for anyone connected with a child to take them out of the UK for more than 28 days without the consent of any other person who has parental responsibility for that child or a consenting order from the courts. A person is connected with the child if they are parent of the child, guardian or special guardian, anyone who has a residence order for the child or who has the child living with them.

Those required to give their consent would be the mother, the father (if he has parental responsibility), guardian, special guardian or anyone who has the child living with them or has permission from the court.

Also read: Expert: Parental abduction never in child’s best interest , Parental abduction

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Abducted and taken to Pakistan, UK girl to return home after 3 years


December 29, 2012

Source: Tribune.com.pk

A six-year-old girl, who was abducted by her father and taken to Pakistan three years ago, is expected to reunite with her mother today the Daily Mail reported.

Atiya Anjum-Wilkinson, who went missing in 2009 after she went to stay with her father, Razwan Ali Anjum, is expected to reach Manchester Airport around 5pm today to meet her mother.

Atiya_Anjum_Wilkinson

He took her to Lahore and told her mother that she would never see her daughter again.

Gemma Wilkinson, her mother, has been distraught ever since.

‘I pray she’s okay but we don’t have any proof that she’s okay and no proof she is even still alive,’ Gemma had said. ‘It’s been discussed that she could have been sold, but I don’t want to believe it. As far as I’m aware she hasn’t been with any family member so I can only assume she’s with strangers.’

‘To know that she’s safe, to know that she’s being looked after, to know where she is. A child doesn’t disappear, doesn’t evaporate. A child is put somewhere and people know – and that information needs to be talked about,’ added the mother.

Atiya was reportedly taken into protective custody after she was found in Pakistan this week and her father is in prison in the UK for not revealing her whereabouts.

Gemma separated from Anjum in 2008 due to his possessive and controlling nature, after which he vowed revenge and on her birthday, took her away saying he was taking her to Southport.

He claimed that she was with relatives there and returned to the UK without her, after which he said a man called ‘Khan’ had taken her to Iran. Atiya, however, was traced after police published a computer generated image of how she would look three years from when she was abducted.

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We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year…


Dear Friends

May you be blessed with a safe, peaceful holiday in the company of family and friends, both far and near.

From our families to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Our 24/7 Emergency Phone will be open during Christmas.

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South Korea joins international treaty against parental child abductions


December 14, 2012

Source: Yonhap news

SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) — South Korea has signed an international treaty that requires a country to expeditiously return a child abducted by a parent to the child’s country of habitual residence, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

Korean child
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, or Hague Abduction Convention, will come into force in South Korea on March 1, next year, ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young said.

The treaty, which took effect in 1983 with 88 member countries, is primarily aimed at providing an expeditious method to return abducted children to their country of habitual residence.
Cho said South Korea’s accession to the Hague Abduction Convention “will lay a groundwork for us to swiftly cope with parental child abductions.”

“In particular, it is expected to help resolve human rights issues with regard to children in multi-cultural families,” Cho said, citing possible side effects from a growing number of international marriages in South Korea.

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Parental child abductions have ‘risen by 88% in a decade’


December 12, 2012

Source: ITV

  • Cases of parental child abduction have risen 88% in just under a decade (2003-2012), the FCO have said.
  • 24% of Britons are unaware parental child abduction is a crime.
  • The FCO’s child abduction section received an average of four calls a day between October 2011 and September 2012.

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  • The FCO also pointed out that parents may suffer severe financial difficulties as they fight for custody of their child through foreign courts.
  • Further illustrating public misunderstanding, nearly three quarters of those surveyed (74%) thought fathers were more likely to abduct children.
  • But, according to statistics from the Reunite International Child Abduction Centre, 70% of the charity’s cases concern mothers taking the child.
  • There are skewed opinions over where children were taken – 71% thought parents most commonly abduct their children to the Middle East, India or Pakistan.

A worldwide problem

Parental child abduction – where a parent takes a child without the permission of those with parental responsibility – is now a worldwide issue. In 2003/04 we worked on cases in 51 countries; now cases relate to 84 different countries, showing just how widespread the problem has become.

We also fear that these statistics are just the tip of the iceberg; many cases go unreported as parents seek custody of their children through foreign courts.

Raising awareness

Public understanding of parental child abduction is alarmingly low.

The research we commissioned 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.

The reality is that whilst help is available, parental child abduction cases can take years to resolve. This has significant impact on those concerned and there is the strong possibility that the child may never be returned.

It is also much harder to return a child from a country that has not signed the 1980 Hague Convention, an international agreement between certain countries which aims to ensure the return of a child who has been abducted by a parent.

Legal and financial reality

Despite parental child abduction being against the law, a quarter (24%) of people do not think, or are unaware, that it’s a crime for a parent to take their child overseas without the consent of others with parental responsibility.

When asked which parent they thought was more likely to abduct a child, three quarters (74%) of people thought it was fathers.  Yet according to statistics from the Reunite International Child Abduction Centre, 70% of the charity’s cases concern mothers taking the child.

As well as this emotional distress, both parents may often face severe financial difficulties as they fight for custody of their child through foreign courts. The statistics show that people tend to underestimate just how much getting a child back costs, including legal fees overseas and in the UK which may continue to mount up even after  the child is returned to this country.

There also seems to be a lack of awareness about who pays the costs of resolving a parental child abduction case involving a non-Hague country. Sixty-two per cent either didn’t know or responded with the wrong answer, and only 38% answered correctly by saying it was the parents who would pay, not the UK Government.

The expert view

Daisy Organ, head of the Foreign Offfice Child Abduction Section said:

“The increase in parental child abduction cases is a major cause for concern, particularly in the lead up to the school holidays; we know that before or during school holidays is one of the most common times for a child to be abducted. We hope that this campaign will help inform and educate the UK public and encourage parents thinking of abducting their child to think twice before they cause significant distress to themselves and their family. “

Alison Shalaby, Chief Executive of Reunite, said:

“It is important to remember that parental child abduction is not faith or country specific. 71% of the UK public thought that parents most commonly abduct their children to the Middle East, India and Pakistan but it can happen to anyone, from any background. Countries where children are abducted to can range from Australia, to France, to Thailand.

“We have seen a 20% increase in calls made to our helpline in the first half of 2012 compared to 2011  and a 67% increase in the number of children who have been abducted by a parent to a non-Hague country between 2001 and 2011.

“This issue is not going away and with a 47% increase in the number of child abduction cases Reunite has worked on between 2001 and 2011, we are urging parents to think twice before they abduct their child or seek help if they think their child is at risk.”

Contact information

If you are concerned, or if your child has been abducted, you can call the FCO’s Child Abduction Section on 0207 008 0878 or visithttp://www.fco.gov.uk/childabduction, or Reunite on 0116 2556 234.

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Father pleads guilty to international parental kidnapping


December 10, 2012

Source: NBC-WKTV News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – An Ilion native pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charged of international parental kidnapping.

Jeffrey Shipman, an Ilion native, admitted that on on July 12, 2007 he left the United States with his then 3-year-old daughter , flying from JFK Airport in New York City to London-Heathrow Airport, with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of the mother’s parental rights. Authorities said Shipman further admitted that he kept the child outside the United States for the next 4 ½ years, traveling from England, to Germany, France, and Thailand.

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He ultimately turned himself and the child in to authorities in Bangkok, Thailand in March of this year. The child, now 9 years old, has been reunited with her mother.

The crime of International Parental Kidnapping carries a maximum sentence of 36 months imprisonment and up to one year of supervised release. Shipman and the United States Attorney’s
Office have agreed on a binding sentence of 30 months imprisonment and 1 year supervised release.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 4, 2013.

Shipman’s arrest was the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Marshals Service. Shipman is being prosecuted by AUSA Lisa Fletcher, Project Safe Childhood Coordinator for the Northern District of New York.

Launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, and led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe
Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

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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.

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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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