Parental Child Abduction to Japan – ‘Racist’ cartoon issued by Japanese ministry angers rights activists


17 September , 2014

Source: scmp.com and CrnJapan.net 

Pamphlet issued by Tokyo to Japan’s embassies in response to Hague convention is criticised for depicting a foreign man beating his child.

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Human rights activists in Japan have reacted angrily to a new pamphlet released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that they claim is racist and stereotypical for depicting white fathers beating their children.

The 11-page leaflet has been sent to Japanese embassies and consulates around the world in response to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction going into effect in Japan on April 1.

Tokyo dragged its feet on ratifying the treaty, which broadly stipulates that a child should be returned to his or her country of habitual residence when they have been taken out of that country by a parent but without the consent of the other parent.

But manga-style images of foreign fathers beating children and Japanese women portrayed as innocent victims have raised the hackles of campaigners, both those fighting discrimination against foreigners and non-Japanese who have been unable to see children who have been abducted by Japanese former spouses.

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“It’s the same problem with any negotiations in which Japan looks like it has been beaten,” said Debito Arudou, a naturalised Japanese citizen who was born in the United States and has become a leading human rights activist.

“After being forced to give up a degree of power by signing the Hague treaty, they have to show that they have not lost face and they try to turn the narrative around,” he said. “It’s the same as in the debate over whaling.

“The Japanese always see themselves as the victims, and in this case, the narrative is that Japanese women are being abused and that the big, bad world is constantly trying to take advantage of them.”

Arudou is particularly incensed by the cover of the publication, which shows a blond-haired foreigner hitting a little girl, a foreign father taking a child from a sobbing Japanese mother and another Japanese female apparently ostracised by big-nosed foreign women.

“It is promoting the image that the outside world is against Japanese and the only place they will get a fair deal is in Japan,” said Arudou.

The rest of the pamphlet takes the form of a conversation between a cartoon character father and son, but with the storyline showing the difficulties of a Japanese woman living abroad with her half-Japanese son.

Arudou says the publication then “degenerates into the childish” with the appearance of an animated doll that is the father figure’s pride and joy, but also dispenses advice.

“As well as promoting all these stereotypes, why are they not talking about visitation issues for foreigners whose half-Japanese children have been abducted by their ex-wives?” asked Arudou.

Several foreigners who have been unable to see their children for years have already contacted Arudou to express their anger, with a number of US nationals saying they would pass the document onto lawmakers.

Arudou’s post on the issue on his website has also attracted attention, with commentators describing the pamphlet as “racist propaganda”.

“This is disgusting,” one commentator posted. “Pictures are powerful, more powerful than words. And the only time I’ve ever seen anything remotely like this is when I did a search for old anti-Japanese propaganda.

“Of course, that was disgusting too, but it was wartime!”

Another added, “What a pathetic advert for an ‘advanced’ country.

“As for the text – not wasting any more bandwidth on such utter racist, xenophobic, patronising, paranoid nonsense.”

Other links related to the case: http://www.mofa.go.jp/files/000034153.pdf and http://www.crnjapan.net/english-mofadoc.pdf

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Disturbing figures reveal Greater Manchester had almost twice the national rate of child abductions and kidnappings


September 10, 2014

Source: manchestereveningnews.co.uk

Police investigated 46 abductions and 20 kidnappings of children across the region between April 2013 and March this year.

Crying-child

GMP investigated 46 abductions and 20 kidnappings of children across the region between April 2013 and March this year.

Greater Manchester had nearly twice the national average rate of child abductions and kidnappings last year, the M.E.N. can reveal.

Police investigated 46 abductions and 20 kidnappings of children across the region between April 2013 and March this year.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act by charity Parents and Abducted Children Together (PACT), show that in 2013/14, GMP recorded 2.4 incidents of the crimes for every 100,000 people. The national average is 1.3.

There were seven incidents where parents abducted their children. Parental abduction often happens when the couples separate or begin divorce proceedings.

Figures show that more than two children, on average, were abducted or kidnapped every day in England in 2013/14.

The statistics – from 36 out of 39 police forces – show that there were 504 child abductions and 302 child kidnappings between April 2013 and March 2014. In 30 per cent of child abduction cases, the child was abducted by a parent.

Further figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of child abductions across England and Wales rose in 2013/14 for the first time since 2004/05; from 513 to 569 – an 11pc increase.

Child abduction is the act of taking a child away from their family, carer or person who has lawful control of the child without consent or lawful justification. Kidnap is similar, but the child is usually imprisoned.

Stockport MP Ann Coffey, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, said: “These figures for Greater Manchester are very disturbing. It must be terrifying for a child to experience abduction or kidnapping. Everything possible must be done to return missing children as quickly as possible.

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“We clearly need to find out the reason why Greater Manchester appears to have a higher number of abductions and kidnappings than some other areas, because it’s not clear to me why that is.”

Geoff Newiss, director of research at PACT said the figures only paint half the picture, with many abductions, particularly by parents, going unreported.

He added: “These new figures illustrate that Greater Manchester is not immune from the problem of abduction. Abduction covers a broad range of offences, including custody disputes, grooming offences, stranger sexual abuse and revenge attacks.

“A number – of all types – of abduction are not reported to the police.”

Commenting on the findings, Detective Superintendent Jon Chadwick, from GMP, said: “Although the figures are higher the national average, the number is still very small within a county that holds a population of just under three million people.

“However, protecting the children of Greater Manchester is one of the Force’s priorities and we take all reports of child abduction seriously, thoroughly investigating each case.”

Charity’s schemes will help protect children

Charity bosses are raising awareness of abduction and kidnap figures to highlight two new resources to protect children – the UK Child Abduction Hub and Child Rescue Alert.

Parents and Abducted Children Together (PACT) and Missing People are urging people to make use of the services, with abduction rates rising for the first time since 2004/5.

The UK Abduction Hub, set up with cash from the People’s Postcode Lottery, gives information and advice on child abduction.

Child Rescue Alert allows anyone to sign up to receive free alerts – by text, email or via social media – if a child is taken in their area.

Kate McCann, mother of missing Madeleine, launched the new Child Rescue Alert on International Missing Children’s Day earlier this year.

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Kate McCann (left), mother of Madeleine McCann, and Coral Jones, mother of April Jones, at the launch of the new Child Rescue Alert earlier this year

Bosses say abduction comes in many different forms, of varying severity, and that government statistics do not provide the level of detail required to fully illustrate the risks.

The new services, they say, could save a vulnerable child’s life and are aimed at making sure every family across the fact knows the facts about abduction and kidnap.

 

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US Congress acts to prevent international child abductions


29 August , 2014

Source: nation.com 

WASHINGTON : Congress gave its final approval Friday to legislation that compels US authorities to assist American mothers and fathers whose children are victims of international parental abductions.

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More than 1,000 international child abductions each year are reported to the State Department, with children often taken illegally from the United States by a foreign parent to countries like Brazil, England, India, Japan and Russia. Most of them are not returned.
By simple voice vote, the House of Representatives approved the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act, named after son Sean who, through an intense US diplomatic intervention, was returned to his New Jersey home years after being taken to Brazil by his mother.
The bill passed the House last December, but the Senate tweaked it and approved its version last week. The House on Friday passed the final legislation and it now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The international Hague Convention on child abductions provides a civil framework for speeding the return of children, but the rules are not consistently enforced.
The Goldman act, first drafted in 2009, “ensures that (American parents) will now receive significant help from the US government in their fights to recover their children,” said House Republican Chris Smith, who wrote the original legislation.
“With this bill, for the first time ever, parents with children held in non-Hague countries can work with the State Department. They won’t be on their own, far from the United States, desperately trying to get their children back.”
The law, once signed, would call for increasingly severe steps taken by US authorities if a foreign government does not cooperate in helping resolve abduction cases, beginning with diplomatic demarches and escalating to cancellations of official visits, suspension of economic aid, and formal requests for extradition of individuals engaged in abductions.
It would also urge the administration to forge bilateral agreements with Hague Convention and non-Hague Convention countries to help locate and return abducted children and protect access rights for the “left-behind” parent. “These abductions are a form of child abuse and a human rights violation,” Smith said.

 

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NSU Law Professor Recognized by U.S. Department of State


August 29 , 2014

Source: PRnewswire.com

Tim Arcaro recognized for his efforts in assisting parents of abducted children.

FORT LAUDERDALEDAVIE, Fla., Aug. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — NSU Shepard Broad Law Center Professor and Associate Dean Tim Arcaro, J.D., has been formally recognized by the U.S. Department of State for his work on the Hague Convention Attorney Network. Arcaro’s work involved representing parents attempting to recover children who have been internationally parentally abducted from South Florida, or who may be targets of international parental abduction.

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Beth Payne, director, Office of Children’s Issues, United States Central Authority for the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction issued a certificate of appreciation thanking Dean Arcaro for generously donating his legal services in assisting parents and for contributing to the effective operation of the Hague Convention in the United States. Arcaro also received commendations from Patricia Hoff, legal assistance coordinator for the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Dean Arcaro’s participation in the Hague Convention Attorney Network underscores his commitment to addressing this fundamental human rights issue and to the South Florida community,” said Jon Garon, JD., dean of NSU’s Law Center. “Parental abduction is a growing issue in the U.S. and there is a tremendous need for attorneys with training and commitment similar to Tim’s. I applaud him and each of our faculty members here at the Law Center who give of themselves in service to our community. Tim’s work reflects the fundamental values our faculty, student, and staff embrace at NSU and the Shepard Broad Law Center.”

The Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues actively seeks lawyers who are willing to participate and assist parents involved in international family law and child abduction cases. By joining the Department of State’s Hague Convention Attorney Network, attorneys provide the critical assistance necessary to navigate through the legal system with a view toward obtaining the return of the child and, in a proper case, to make arrangements for organizing or securing the effective exercise of rights of access. More information on the program can be obtained by visiting http://bit.ly/1wmRwjJ .

Arcaro is a graduate of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He has been admitted to the Florida and Pennsylvania bars, as well as the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Arcaro has been a member of the Law Center’s faculty since 1994. After serving as a clinical instructor in the Civil Law Clinic, he was appointed Director of the Children and Family Law Clinic in 1998. He became director of the Master of Science in Health Law Program in 2003, and served in that capacity until being appointed director of the Master of Science in Education Law Program in 2005. Professor Arcaro teaches both online and on-site courses, including Administrative Law, Professional Responsibility, International Human Rights, and Immigration Law.

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Arcaro has lectured extensively on professional responsibility, domestic violence, child advocacy, and developing clinical legal education programs. In addition to memberships in local, state and national bar associations, Arcaro also maintains professional memberships in numerous legal, clinical and educational associations, such as the Education Law Association, International Society for Technology in Education, National Institute of Trial Advocacy, and the Association of American Law Schools Clinical Legal Education section. He has served on the Florida Legal Aid Corporation’s Executive Board of Directors, the [Florida] Governor’s Task Force on Domestic Violence, and the Florida Coalition against Domestic Violence Legal Clearinghouse. Arcaro has received many awards in recognition of his service to both colleagues and the community, among them: the 2007 Faculty Professionalism Award from the Florida Bar Standing Committee on Professionalism; Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year, from the Broward County Guardian Ad Litem Program; Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year, from the Broward Legal Aid Service, Inc.; and Pro Bono Recognition from the Broward Lawyers Care (Broward County Bar Association).

About the Shepard Broad Law Center: Nova Southeastern University’s Law Center offers a rigorous traditional academic program in three-year day and four-year evening versions, as well as dual-degree programs. Additionally, NSU Law offers three online Master of Science degrees in law in the areas of education, employment, and health. NSU Law prides itself on preparing graduates to make a smooth transition from the classroom to the courtroom or boardroom. Lawyering Skills and Values (LSV)-Every student completes a four-semester LSV sequence that combines traditional legal reasoning, writing, and research with an introduction to lawyer interviewing, counseling, negotiating, mediating, advocating, and other critical skills in a simulated law firm experience. For more information please visit http://www.nsulaw.nova.edu/

About Nova Southeastern University: Situated on 314 beautiful acres in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a dynamic fully accredited research institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs at all levels.  NSU is a not-for-profit independent institution with 27,000 students. NSU awards associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, doctoral and first-professional degrees in a wide range of fields. NSU is classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and it is one of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification. For more information, please visit www.nova.eduCelebrating 50 years

 

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Thailand/UK The Abducted Children Are Brought Back To their British Father


August 22 , 2014

Source: Pattaya Smart

The two British-Thai Children who were abducted a while ago are now returned to their british father Robert Day.

We will update this article soon

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Read the full update here: Phuketgazzette

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Thailand: Bortførte Barn Tilbake Hos Far


August 22 , 2014

Kilde: Pattaya Smart

Det meldes nå at de  to thailandsk-britiske skolejentene Annie (11) og Aleena Day (6) er trygt tilbake hos sin britiske far Robert Day

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Les hele saken her: Phuketgazette 

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Parental Abduction: Family of Sevenoaks schoolgirls missing in Thailand make plea for information


August 12 , 2014

Source: thaiavisa.com

SEVENOAKS: — THE grandparents of two sisters who went missing and are believed to have been abducted while they were in Thailand 72 days ago are pleading for Sevenoaks holidaymakers to keep their eyes peeled for the girls.

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Aleena and Ananya Day, aged 6 and 11, arrived with their father in Pattaya on May 25 and spent several days visiting their 33-year-old mother, Onwarat Gamlem formerly known as both Wiganda Day and Onwarat Suphikunphong.

missing seven oaks girlsThe alarm was raised when Mrs Gamlem failed to take the two girls to the airport on June 1 so that they could fly home with their father and there has been no sign of them since.

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An arrest warrant has been issued for Mrs Gamlem on suspicion of abducting her daughters.

Grandmother Betty Day, who lives with her husband, son and granddaughters in Chipstead, told the Chronicle: Its been nine weeks and we still havent heard anything.

My son, Robert, is still in Thailand searching for them.

He has made so many enquiries hes doing everything he can think of. Its really very hard.

His funds have run out so were helping to support him. He wont come home until hes got them back.

Both children were born in Thailand but have been raised in Sevenoaks since their parents divorced in 2010.

Mr Day was awarded full custody of his daughters and they visit their mother once a year.

In new steps to try to trace them, billboards displaying photographs of Ananya known as Annie and Aleena, as well as wanted posters for their mother, have been attached to vehicles now being driven around paraded across the resort of Pattaya with a loudspeaker.

Airlines serving Thai airports have also been alerted to prevent attempts to flee the country.

The police think that Onwarats new husbands visa will soon run out hes from Norway, Mrs Day said.

Nobody knows where he is either but there could be warrants for his arrest soon too when his visa runs out.

She added: Both girls missed the end of the school term. Annie is starting at Trinity School in September. Theyve assured us her place is secure. We can only hope that shell be back by then.

If anyone has family or friends there or theyre going on holiday to Thailand, please keep raising awareness.

We all want the girls back home.

In an online plea for information, the girls father said: They have missed so much birthdays, end of year outings, the end of primary school party and induction day at senior school.

Someone out there must know something that will help the police with their inquiries.

Everyone is working so hard to find them but to date there has been no breakthrough.

My girls are my world and I miss them both very much.

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Mother wanted for abducting own British-Thai children believed to be in Phuket


August 9 , 2014

Source: phuketgazette

PHUKET: The mother wanted for abducting her two British-Thai daughters from their natural father in Pattaya is believed to be heading to Phuket.
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On Tuesday, Pattaya Police were issued an arrest warrant for 36-year-old Onwarat Gamlem, who is the non-custodial mother of the children. The warrant orders police officers around the country to arrest Ms Onwarat on charges of child abduction.

Ms Onwarat, also known by her nicknames “Nok Lek” and “On”, is to be handed over to the Pattaya City Police once arrested.

The children’s father, Robert Day, believes Ms Onwarat may have brought the children to Phuket, Mr Day’s sister, Charlotte Dillow, told the Phuket Gazette. Ms Onwarat once lived in Phuket.

“She met her current husband there, too,” Ms Dillow said.

Ms Onwarat and Mr Day are divorced. A Thai court four years ago gave full custody of the girls, Annie and Aleena, to Mr Day, with no access to Ms Onwarat, reported Pattaya103.com (story here), which broke the story.

Ms Onwarat deserted the children for 18 months when they were very young, said the report.

Mr Day took the children to the UK and has been raising them alone, but allowing them to communicate with their mother online.

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At the end of May, he brought the girls, aged six and 10, to Thailand to see their mother. He allowed Ms Onwarat to take them for several days.

When Ms Onwarat did not return them on June 1 as agreed, Mr Day contacted the police, who searched her home and found it empty.

Ms Onwarat is now married to a Norwegian man who left Thailand for work on April 27. The couple have a three-year-old son, Marvin.

Also known by her previous married name Wiganda Day and her maiden name Onwarat Suphikunphong, Ms Onwarat is believed to be in hiding with her three children.

She was seen driving a white Toyota Vios, red plate registration 2995, issued in Chon Buri.

The Gazette notes that the registered address on the arrest warrant marks a residence in Pathum Thani, on the outskirts of Bangkok.

Alternatively, Ms Onwarat may be hiding out in her home province of Ayutthaya, Ms Dillow noted.

Anyone with information about the group’s whereabouts are urged to notify nearest police station or call the police hotline 191.

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Judge blocks Leicester woman’s holiday in India over child abduction fear


August 9 , 2014

Source: Leicester-mercury

India_Abducted_Child

A mother has been forbidden from going on holiday by a judge after her ex-husband and father of her six-year-old son objected, saying he feared he might never see them again.

The woman, who is in her 30s, insisted she had absolutely no intention of abducting her British-born son and keeping him in India, where she was born.

However, Judge Clifford Bellamy has come down in favour of the father and banned the mother’s trip.

The father, also in his 30s, was born in Leicester and the mother has lived in the city for nine years since their arranged marriage.

 India Political Maps

However, the mother is now living alone with her son.

The Family Court heard the father was engaged in a running battle with his ex-wife over contact with their little boy.

All three have UK passports.

The mother told Judge Bellamy she was desperate to take her son to India to meet his wider family and “explore his cultural roots”.

Denying any intention not to return to Britain, she said she no longer viewed India as her home.

The judge was told her son was doing well in an English school and that, for 18 months, she had been in a new relationship with a man who had a steady job in the UK.

He was also told that divorced single mothers were disapproved of in India.

However, Judge Bellamy said India had not signed up to the Hague Convention – which enshrines the international ban on child abduction.

If the mother failed to return to Britain with his son, the father would face a formidable challenge fighting his case through the Indian courts, the court heard.

Experts had reported that it was in the boy’s best interests, culturally and emotionally, to form a strong relationship with his father.

Despite her new relationship and her British citizenship, the mother had no family ties in the UK and spoke only broken English, the court was told.

Blocking her holiday plans, the judge said there was “a risk” that she might try to keep her son in India.

 

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When Your Ex Emigrates With Your Children


August 4 , 2014

Source: separated dads

The modern world is getting smaller, with more and more people living and working abroad.

It’s no surprise that the number of international families is on the increase but what happens to the kids when these relationships break down and the mother wishes to return to their home country with the child? What rights does the father have?

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Your Rights

If both parents have parental responsibility for a child it is a criminal offence in the UK to emigrate with a child without the permission of the other parent or without an order of the Court. Parents have Parental Responsibility for children in the following circumstances:

  1. The Mother – always has PR
  2. The Father – if he was married to the Mother, or if he was named on the birth certificate and the child was born after 1st December 2003 or if there is a PR agreement stamped by the Court

Outcomes

There are 4 outcomes if one parent wants to take the child abroad to live permanently:-

  1. Permission refused by the Court and the Mother abandons her plans or the child moves to live with the Father
  2. The Mother and child emigrate with the Father’sagreement
  3. Lawful removal of the child by the Mother
  4. Unlawful removal of the child by the Mother

Outcome 1 is self-explanatory but let’s looks at the other 3 outcomes in more detail:

Outcome 2 – Emigrate with Father’s Agreement

Where the parents reach an agreement which permits one parent to move abroad with the child whist ensuring that they maintain a good relationship with the other parent. International travel is much cheaper and often parents agree a schedule of annual contact involving return trips to the UK in the school holidays and weekends and visits by the non-resident parent to the child’s new home. Other forms of contact can be agreed upon such as Skype, telephone, email and Face time.

 

In these circumstances it is always wise to apply to the Court to request an order in the agreed terms to prevent any problems further down the line. A court order may also be required by the immigration authorities if the proposed move is by a non-national who requires a Visa. Depending upon the Country where the child is going to be residing, it may be necessary to obtain a mirror order in the new state reflecting the terms of the English Court order. You cannot assume that Court Orders made here are enforceable abroad. If the move is to an EU country the order would be directly enforceable but unless the English court order expressly retains jurisdiction, it will pass to the new state after 3 months and in theory an application could be made in the new state to vary the agreed terms. If the new home is a signatory to the Hague Convention, the Central Authority in London can assist in enforcing a contact order abroad. If the new home is outside the EU and is not a signatory to the Hague Convention, for example Arab States and the Far East, retaining jurisdiction here or obtaining a mirror order is the best form of protection.

Outcome 3 – Lawful Removal of Child

Where parents cannot agree it is necessary for the parent wishing to remove the child to apply to the Court for permission to do so. If permission is granted, contact will also be ordered. This will then result in the lawful removal of the child. Depending on the child’s destination and whether that country would enforce the English Court order (as in EU Countries) it may be necessary to obtain a mirror order in the new home country to ensure contact is maintained. See above ” 2 .Agreement”

Outcome 4 – Unlawful Removal of Child

Where parents cannot agree and the parent wishing to leave simply takes the child without permission, this is parental child abduction. It is a criminal offence to remove a child from the UK without the permission of the other parent or order of the court (save for where the parent has a residence order and removal is for less than 28 days). If you suspect that your child has been taken abroad you will need to access specialist legal advice immediately. In some cases it is possible to stop a child leaving the country by notifying the ports and airports who will place the child’s details on a watch list. If the child has already left the UK, a lot will depend upon where they have gone and whether that country has an agreement with the UK to return wrongfully removed children. There are unfortunately circumstances where children are not returned which could result in the child losing its relationship with the other parent.

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If you are separated from your child’s mother and these issues arise for you it is important that you obtain specialist advice from a family lawyer with an international background which will enable you to consider the best way forward for you and for your child to ensure your relationship is maintained.

About the Author

This was a guest post written by Louise Halford, a family law Partner at Pannone LLP who specialises in child abduction.

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