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. 

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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.”

Child-abduction

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.”

The-Branch-of-Divorce-Law

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.”

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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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The Hague Convention – Japan says it will sign child abduction treaty


January 19, 2013

Source: Japan Today

WASHINGTON —

Japan’s foreign minister said Friday that the new government would sign a treaty on child abductions, addressing one of the few rifts in relations with its main ally the United States.

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Japan has not signed or ratified the 1980 Hague Convention, which requires the return of wrongfully held children to the countries where they usually live, but a previous left-leaning government had said it planned to do so.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, whose conservative Liberal Democratic Party returned to power last month, said on a visit to Washington that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government would take the same stance.

“The government of Japan is intending to go through the necessary procedures for early signing of the treaty,” Kishida told a news conference with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton said she hoped that Japan’s parliament would pass legislation on the Hague treaty during its upcoming session.

Japanese courts virtually never grant custody to foreign parents or to fathers, leaving few legal avenues for fathers whose former partners have fled to Japan with their children.

U.S. parents have pursued at least 120 cases in Japan to seek access to half-Japanese children, invariably to no avail. The U.S. Congress has repeatedly pressed Japan to take up the issue.

The previous Japanese government’s position had initially heartened U.S. officials, but their hopes dimmed as Tokyo delayed action on the Hague treaty and indicated that a ratification would only apply to future cases.

Japanese critics of the Hague convention have previously argued that the country needs to protect women from potentially abusive foreign men.

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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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Law Firm backs new international child abduction campaign -“Latest child abduction figures come as no surprise.


January 17, 2013

Source:bournemouthchamber.org.uk

A NEW campaign highlighting a big rise in the number of children abducted and taken abroad by an estranged parent has been backed by Chamber members Ellis Jones Solicitors. A total of 512 cases involving 84 different countries were reported to British authorities in 2011/2012, according to data from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). That compares with 272 in 51 countries in 2003/2004, an increase of 88 per cent in eight years.

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It is illegal for a parent to take a child overseas without permission from others with parental responsibility. However 24 per cent of Britons are unaware it is a crime, according to separate FCO research. The research revealed that although 74 per cent of people thought fathers were most likely to abduct their children, statistics from the charity Reunite International suggested 70 per cent of their cases concerned mothers taking a child.

Katie_Taft_Solicitor
The FCO has now launched a national campaign to highlight the issue. Katie Taft, a solicitor with Ellis Jones who specialises in child abduction work, said the national increase in cases was borne out by her own experiences.
The Dorset and New Forest law firm is a member of the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit specialist panel and a recognised expert, regularly representing both mothers and fathers to secure the prompt return of their child or children.

Katie said: “We’ve seen an increased workload over the last few years which is to be expected given the rise in the number of families with parents who originate from different countries. Therefore, the latest FCO figures really come as no surprise. Currently we’re handing a number of cases of this nature across the South of England. “Child abduction causes a huge amount of distress and we welcome the FCO’s decision to launch a national campaign to highlight the issue.

“It’s important that this subject is kept in the public spotlight and that parents think twice before causing significant distress to their children, and other members of the family, by even contemplating abducting a child,” Katie added.

Parents, or those with parental responsibility, who fear their child has been or is at risk of being abducted can contact Katie or Sean McNally on 01202 636223. Alternatively the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit can be reached on 020 7911 7047/7045 from 10am to 4pm.

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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

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Fatherless Homes Now Proven Beyond Doubt Harmful To Children


Source: Fathersunite.org

Most statistics from a 1999 report of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Children from fatherless homes are:
• 15.3 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
• 4.6 times more likely to commit suicide
• 6.6 times more likely to become teenaged mothers
• 24.3 times more likely to run away
• 15.3 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
• 6.3 times more likely to be in a state-operated institutions
• 10.8 times more likely to commit rape
• 6.6 times more likely to drop out of school
• 15.3 times more likely to end up in prison while a teenage
• 73% of adolescent murderers come from mother only homes
•  6.3 times more likely to be in state operated institutions

CHILDREN NEED BOTH PARENTS
It’s a Fact
Here’s why:
· 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census).
· 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
· 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
(Source: Center for Disease Control).
· 80% of rapist motivated by displaced anger come from fatherless homes. (Source:
Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 14, pp. 403-26).
· 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. (Source: National Principals Assoc. Report on the State of High Schools).
· 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home. (Source: Fulton County Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. Of Corrections, 1992).
These statistics translate to mean that children from fatherless homes are:
· 5 times more likely to commit suicide
· 32 times more likely to run away
· 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
· 14 times more likely to commit rape
· 9 times more likely to drop out of high school
· 20 times more likely to end up in prison
“There is a fundamental liberty right guaranteed to both parents by the 14th Amendment. This is the right to the care, custody, and nurture of their children. According to the Supreme Court of the United States: “Absent a Compelling State Interest of harm or potential harm to the child, the State may not intervene in the privacy of family life.””Overall, research studies show that children of joint custodians are better adjusted than children of sole custodians on each of the following measures: general adjustment; family relations; self-esteem; emotional adjustment; behavioral adjustment; and divorce-specific adjustment.

Another benefit of Joint Physical Custody is that it improves child support compliance. Researchers have found a positive correlation between the frequency of a parent’s contact with a child and the payment of child support. That is to say, the more frequent, regular and flexible the time a parent is permitted to spend with his child, the more likely he is to meet his child support obligation in full and on time. In terms of voluntary compliance, fathers who have little or no contact with their children after a divorce pay only about 34% of their child support, while fathers with regular contact pay 85% or more of theirs.

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NOTE: We are always available, also during The Christmas holidays. Christmas is the high season for parental abductions.

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UK Phone Number: 020 3239 0013 –
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Abducted Children – We can bring them back


Time is a very important factor if a child is missing. Immediate access to current information about the missing child is critical. Although nobody hopes to be in such a situation where this information is needed, parents have to keep in mind that child abduction can occur anytime, anywhere, to any child. Therefore, parents must have the resources and knowledge about their children ready, so they can take action if their children become missing.

The goal of ABP World Group international child recovery services is to locate, negotiate and recover your missing child. We can dispatch personnel to most locations in the world; we specialize in locating missing children up to ages 18.

Areas of expertise: Parental abduction, Missing children, Kidnappings,
Runaway children and Counselling.

Unfortunately in this day and time parental kidnapping happens and we are here to help you trough this difficult time.
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

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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ITALY – Italian Child Abduction Alert System (ICAAS)


Source: formez.eu

The project aims at realizing a “quick alert” system in the case of child abduction.
 
Actions:

  • Definition of the protocol to ensure that once the case of child abduction has been communicated to the police, the alert mechanism is promptly launched through a study of the procedures already in force in other EU countries, the analysis of the resources available to all Bodies involved and the evaluation of their competences.
  • Definition of a central authority at national level with the clear responsibility for directing and coordinating available techniques and human resources.
  • Management of a joint web portal including two main areas: a public area for memorizing the alarm information and an area limited to the bodies responsible for starting up the procedure on transmission via radio (TV / Radio / mobile telephone companies and others).
  • Coordination between all security forces and the competent authorities, the national network of the Public Administration, civil society and NGOs.
  • Judicial and security system which deals with child disappearance.
  • Definition of the Protocol and Bodies involved in the alert procedures.
  • Memoranda with media and Bodies involved in the communication phase.
  • Realization of the portal.
On 8 March 2011 in Rome the ceremony to undersign the Agreement as regards the establishment of an Italian “Child Abduction Alert” system will take place, which shall allow for the utmost diffusion, among the population, of the information useful for localizing abducted children in the very short term.
The event will open with the welcome address by the Vice Director General for Public Security – Central Head of the Criminal Police, Prefect Francesco Cirillo, and will continue with the presentation of the project by the Head of the Service for Police Force International Cooperation, Gen. B. Guardia di Finanza, Francesco Lisi. The event will be closed with a press conference to be held after the undersigning of the Agreement.
The Project funded by the European Commission, has been the result of a profitable partnership between Police Forces, institutions and private bodies, of which the Central Direction of the Italian Criminal Police has been the leading structure.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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Law Firms Sued For Aiding Parental Abduction


Source: Lawdiva`s Blog

Two New Jersey law firms are fighting lawsuits brought by Peter Innes, the father of Victoria Innes who was abducted by her mother Marie Carrascosa and spirited off to Spain in 2005.

Innes and Carrascosa were married in 1999 in Spain but lived in the US. Victoria was born in 2000 and the marriage ended in 2004. Victoria held dual Spanish/American citizenship.

Ms. Carrascosa, a Spanish national and a lawyer in Spain, ignored the parties’ parenting agreement that Victoria remain in the US and brought Victoria to her maternal grandparents in Spain. Ms. Carrascosa later returned to New Jersey. Mr. Innes then obtained a court order from a New Jersey judge who ordered her to return the abducted child to New Jersey. Mr. Innes was also granted custody of Victoria by the US court.

Ms. Carrascosa went into hiding for a time but eventually was tried for contempt of a court order and interfering with custody and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Yes, you read that right! In British Columbia abducting parents get a mild slap on the wrist. I can only remember a small handful of cases where any incarceration was ordered, which can only speak to the degree of seriousness our courts ascribe to this heinous offence.

Meanwhile, back in Spain, the Spanish court awarded Ms. Carrascosa custody of her daughter and refused to order Victoria’s return to America. Judges from Spain and New Jersey met at the Hague Court in Holland to try to resolve this now high-profile international dispute, but to no avail.

So why have the lawyers been sued? Ms. Carrascosa’s first lawyer was ordered by the court to hold Victoria’s passport to impede her ability to travel with her mother. When Ms. Carrascosa discharged her first lawyer, she couriered the passport to the new lawyer, who apparently had no idea that the passport was not to be given to her client.

Mr. Innes determined that when his wife absconded with their daughter, they left using Victoria’s passport.

The lawyers are, of course, blaming each other for the debacle and a trial is scheduled for 2010.

I can understand why Peter Innes is taking these actions against his wife’s lawyers. If Ms. Carrascosa travelled with her daughter’s passport in hand, someone has to be held accountable. In my experience, the only way Mr. Innes will see his child again is if Ms. Carrascosa finds jail unpleasant enough.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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Abducted to Poland


THEIR marriage had become marred by arguments, but when his wife wanted to travel overseas after her grandmother died, Dimitrios Laskos did not object.

Neither did he oppose her taking their 11-month-old son Panagiotis to her native Poland for a few weeks. But when she did not return for his first birthday, Mr Laskos became concerned. Two years later, he is still waiting.

This week, a Polish court is to decide whether Panagiotis, an Australian citizen, should be returned to Sydney.

Since he was taken by his mother, Panagiotis has been renamed Piotr and been baptised a Catholic even though the couple had agreed on a Greek-Orthodox baptism. Mr Laskos has only seen him for a few minutes. ”For Greeks always the first son of the family is very important,” he explains.

Imagine the outrage, says Mr Laskos, if a Greek or Lebanese father abducted his child and changed his name and religion. ”Always the fathers are the victims. They give too much power to the woman in this country. Why don’t they make [it] a crime, this situation?”

Under the Hague Convention on child abduction, which Australia and Poland have signed, the removal of a child is wrong if it breaches custody orders or parenting was exercised jointly. But it is no crime in Australia to remove your child where no orders exist.

When the convention was drawn up in 1980, 70 per cent of child abductions were committed by fathers, said Waldemar Drexler, the lawyer for Mr Laskos’s wife, Malgorzata Muchowska.

Now 87 per cent of abducted children are taken by mothers, says the federal Attorney-General’s Department, which helps parents enforce the convention. A spokesman said there was no plan to make child abduction a crime.

In the first 11 months of this year 88 children were abducted from Australia, and 77 were taken from their usual residence to Australia.

Mr Drexler, who thinks the convention is outdated, says: ”The mothers are taking the children overseas to the country where they lived before. We can’t say the child suffers harm because the child is more in touch with the mother who spends much more time with the child.”

The battle over Panagiotis has been nasty with both sides accusing each other of lying to the Polish court. Mr Laskos says his wife made false accusations that he had mistreated her. He says his only criminal record is for driving matters.

Mr Drexler says Mr Laskos has lied in court about owning a property, and has been forced to admit it belonged to his aunt. ”My client says the child’s father does not have any resources to support the child,” he said. ”It’s not fair for her to take a child from a good environment … the family [in Poland] is well-to-do … then to bring him back to Australia where everything is foreign to him, language, culture, father. He won’t recognise anything.”

But a family centre in Catholic Poland concluded after a psychological assessment: ”A solution favourable for the child would be the mother’s return with him to Australia.”

Mr Laskos says he would financially support his wife and child if they returned. Then they could sort out divorce and custody arrangements ”here in Australia where we started our lives together”.

”Slowly, slowly I want him to get to know me. After six to seven years I will take him full time. He does not know English. He does not know Greek,” Mr Laskos says.

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‘A very disturbing trend’: Parents kidnap their children, flee country


Washington (CNN) — More children are being abducted by a parent who then takes them out of the country, and more needs to be done to bring the children back to their legal homes, the U.S. official who oversees the issue said Wednesday.

The number of such abductions reported is “sharply on the rise — a very disturbing trend,” said Susan Jacobs, the special advisor for children’s issues at the State Department.

Jacobs also said her department is one of the fastest growing offices at the State Department because of the increasing rate of international abductions involving children with American parents.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited children said that in 2010 there were nearly 2,000 parental abductions in which the child was taken out of the United States.

“International parental abduction is a federal crime with long-term, damaging consequences for both parents and children, even when the cases are resolved,” Jacobs said. “Parents seeking the return of their children or permission to visit them confront unfamiliar legal, cultural, and linguistic barriers; they suffer emotional trauma, and they face significant and long-term financial costs.”

The United States is encouraging other countries to sign onto The Hague Convention on international child abductions, a treaty signed by more than 60 countries that provides a civil mechanism to return children wrongfully removed from the country where they live.

Jacobs said decisions under the convention are commonly based on where the child usually resides. When properly implemented, “the convention works,” she said.

The issue grabbed headlines a few years ago with the case of Sean Goldman, whose American father, David, was engaged in an international custody battle after the boy’s Brazilian mother refused to let the child return to his father following a vacation in Brazil. The boy was eventually returned to his father after a ruling by the Brazilian supreme court.

Jacobs, incidentally, met with Brazilian authorities last week to discuss ways to speed up the reunification of children with their families. From their discussions, Jacobs said, Brazil and the United States are to hold the first meeting of a children’s working group later this year.

Jacobs and others traveled to the Department of Justice Wednesday afternoon for an observance of National Missing Children’s Day to honor the work of those in law enforcement who recover missing children and combat child exploitation.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has weighed in on the issue as well. In videotaped remarks to mark the day, Clinton asked for to people to continue to speak out on the issue to “help children around the world come home.”

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The Hague Convention (On The Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction)


Source: www.sfla.co.uk

Introduction

UK residents making over 40 million visits abroad in one year and over 10 million British nationals living overseas, the continuing increase in international child custody disputes is not surprising. Matters of this nature will always be agonisingly difficult for the parents as well as the children involved.

Before the Children’s Act of 1989, few courts have given importance to children having continuous contact with the parent who was forced to leave home due to marital separation. There are instances where a parent had to go to prison for obstructing contact or resorting to parental abduction. The gravity of the negative effect of circumstances such as these on the children and their relationship with the other parent cannot be underestimated.

The residence order replaces the custody order and offers flexibility in accommodating various shared case arrangements. It ensures that both parents know and feel that they have a continuing role to play in the lives of their children despite the separation. A shared residence order is more advantageous to all concerned, as it does not deprive any parent or the children the right to spend time together.

There is no intention to take away parental responsibility from any parent by granting a residence order in favour of the other. In fact, it can be made in favour of more than one person at the same time in spite of them not living together. It can just specify the periods the child will spend on each household concerned.

The Hague Convention

The Hague Convention is a treaty that was concluded with the firm conviction that the children’s interest is of paramount importance in matters affecting their custody. It aims to protect the children internationally from the harmful effects of wrongful removal and retention in any contracting state, ensure their prompt return to the state of habitual residence and to secure protection for rights of access. The Hague Convention seeks to lessen international abductions by judicial remedies.

The Convention is applicable to any child who is a habitual resident in a contracting state immediately before custody or access rights have been breached. It however, ceases to apply when the child reaches the age of 16 years.

Central Authorities

All contracting states shall designate their own Central Authority, which shall cooperate with each other in achieving the objectives of the Convention. They are to take all appropriate actions towards the main aim of ensuring the safe and speedy return of children wrongfully removed or retained. The Central Authority for England and Wales is the Child Abduction Unit.

The United Kingdom is part of two international conventions concerning the return of a child who has been abducted. One is the above mentioned Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the European Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions Concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children.

Either one or both conventions are in force between the United Kingdom and the countries of: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia Herzegovina, Burkina Faso Israel; Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, St. Kitts and Nevis, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America and Zimbabwe.

Child Abduction

It is a criminal offense in England and Wales under the Child Abduction Act of 1984 for a parent or guardian of a child, or any person who has a custody/residence order relating to the child to take or send the child out of the United Kingdom without the consent of any other person or persons having rights to the child. There are several possible scenarios in child abduction.

When your child has been taken to a convention country, you should contact the Child Abduction Unit. The questionnaire that shall be sent to you should be accomplished and sent back with photographs of the missing child and the person who has taken the child. Any relevant information explaining the circumstances would be of great help in locating the child. However, the case must fall within the requirements of the convention.

If your child has been taken to a non-convention country, the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices will be able to advise you on what to do. Establish as soon as possible what your parental rights are and the childcare and control practices prevailing in the country concerned. The Consular Division of the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices can provide a list of local lawyers but can neither give legal advice nor act as legal representative.

If you do not know where your child has been taken, it is best to alert the local police station so a Port Alert can be initiated to circulate your child’s name to all UK points of departure. After which, you should also contact the Lord Chancellor’s Department Child Abduction Unit. If your child has been abducted but is still within the United Kingdom, you should know that court orders made in one part of UK is recognised and enforced in all parts.

Being Ready

If you feel that the threat of removal is real and imminent, you must keep the following information ready:

    • the child’s full name, place and date of birth, passport number, date and place of issue and physical description
    • the full name, aliases, place and date of birth, passport details, occupation, departure details and ties to foreign countries of the person who has taken the child
  • the copies of all pertinent documents such as agreements and court orders, child’s birth certificate, photographs of the child and the person who has taken the child.

Always in circumstances like these, one or both parents involved in the dispute actually believe they have more right than the other over the child. But almost always, it is the children who suffer, while the two persons who supposedly care so much for them eventually end up hurting them instead.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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