It Shouldn`t Hurt To Be A Child


Source: Victims Of Violence 

INTRODUCTION

It is estimated that a child goes missing every 9 minutes in Canada. When we think of child abduction, we often picture a stranger snatching our child as they walk home from school. However, the majority of child abductions are committed by someone the child knows and, in many cases, the abductor is a parent. There were 237 parental abductions in 2009, compared to 50 stranger abductions. Parental Abduction is defined as, “the wilful taking of a child with the intent of depriving the other parent, guardian or any other person having lawful care and charge of that child of the possession of that child.”(RCMP). This may at first seem like a benign form of abduction, but it is important to realize that parental abduction is a crime and can have a serious impact on the left-behind parent, the family, and the abducted child.

MOTIVES FOR PARENTAL ABDUCTION

Parents may abduct their children for several different reasons. A common motive is for revenge and as a power play. These parents believe that they have not been treated fairly in a custody battle and may feel misrepresented in court. They will take their child both to hurt the other parent, and simply to assert that they are capable of doing so. Some parents abduct their child out of fear for the child’s safety. This is common in cases where a spouse, usually the wife, is abused by her partner. She will usually take her child to protect him or her from abuse. Shares custody parents may fear that their child is subject to neglect and endangerment when with the other parent.

PROFILE OF ABDUCTORS

There are a number of factors that may contribute to parental abduction including; socioeconomic status, psychological and sociological issues, the relationship between the parent and the child, and the child’s age. The following is a list of characteristics that theRCMP have complied in an attempt to create a general overview of the common parent abductor:

  • Both mother and father are equally likely to abduct their child. Mothers tend to do so after a court order while fathers tend to abduct the child before the court order is made.
  • Mothers tend to keep their abducted child longer than fathers. But most parental abductions are short and are resolved in about 7 days.
  • Parent abductors tend to be between the ages of 28 and 40.
  • Although socio-economic factors vary from case to case, fathers tend to be employed and mothers tend not to be.
  • Most abducted children are young, between the ages of 3 and 7. Children who are taken out of the country are usually older, over 8 years of age.
  • Male and female children are equally likely to be abducted.
  • Children are usually abducted from the home, and abductions usually take place during weekends or holidays (summer, Christmas break, March break.).
  • Various modes of transportation are used and accomplices (commonly other family members or a current partner) are used in about 50% of the cases.
  • Physical or sexual abuse is not common and only occurs in a very small percentage of these abductions.
  • Most ‘left-behind’ parents report the abduction immediately; however some will delay reporting the incident.

Although each case has different circumstances, this general profile provides police with information that will help them to locate and recover the missing child.

ABDUCTION LAWS

Parental Abduction is a criminal offence, and can be found under section 283(1) in the Criminal Code which states:

Everyone who, being the parent, guardian or person having the lawful care or charge of a person under the age of fourteen years, takes, entices away, conceals, detains, receives or harbours that person, whether or not there is a custody order in relation to that person made by a court anywhere in Canada, with intent to deprive a parent or guardian, or any other person who has the lawful care or charge of the possession of that person, is guilty of

  1. an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or
  2. an offence punishable on summary conviction.

There are two exceptions to this section:

  1. No one can be found guilty of the abduction offence (under sections 281 to 283) if they are able to establish that there was consent by the parent, guardian or other person having lawful possession, care or charge of that young person.
  2. No one can be found guilty of an offence under sections 280 to 283 if the court is satisfied that the abduction of the young person was “… necessary to protect the young person from danger of imminent harm or if the person charged with the offence was escaping from danger of imminent harm.”

Importantly, a parent who abducts their child cannot make a defence by claiming that the child consented to or suggested the abduction.

Section 282(2) pertains to abduction in contravention of the custody provisions set out in a custody order and is essentially the same as what has been set out in section 283(1). However, if an individual is not proven guilty under Section 282, they can still be found guilty under Section 283(1).

INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTIONS

International child abductions involve either a parent abducting their child and taking them out of the country, or a parent in another country who prevents the child from returning home to the other parent. Revenge is often a strong motive behind this type of abduction, and the abducting parent will often try to turn the child against the other parent by convincing him/her that the other parent does not care for or love them. If you are worried that your child’s other parent may take him/her out of the country, you may notify a local passport office to have your child’s name placed on the passport control list which will put officials on alert (you need to provide certain documentation to do this). If your child is a dual-citizen, however, this may not be sufficient. The media can have either a mixed influence in abduction cases. Media attention may assist in fuelling the international search for a missing child, or it may cause the abducting parent to go into hiding.

THE HAGUE CONVENTION

Over 30 years ago, the international community recognized the need for a program to ensure cooperation between countries as a way to resolve and prevent international parental abduction cases. Canada was the second country to ratify this Convention which came into effect on December 1, 1983. The Hague convention has two objectives. The first is to ensure the prompt return of an abducted child to his/her home country and the second objective is to ensure that the rights of custody/ access to the child under the law of one contracting state are respected in the other contracting states.

The Hague convention may be applicable if:

  1. The child was a of resident to Canada immediately before the abduction
  2. The wrongful abduction was in breach of rights of custody/access to the child
  3. At the time of the abduction, the convention applied between Canada and the country to which the abducted child was taken.
  4. The child is under 16 years of age.

If the convention applies to the country (or area of the country) to which a child has been taken, authorities can provide a parent with the appropriate paperwork. The Canadian central authority will forward the documents to the foreign central authority that will then pass them along to the local judicial authority. If the child will not be returned voluntarily, a court hearing may take place. If all conditions are met and no exceptions apply, the foreign court will order the return of the child.

There are some exceptions to the Hague convention:

  • The accused parent is able to prove that the other parent consented to the child’s removal/ later acquiesced to it or was not exercising custody rights when the child was abducted/ retained.
  • The child may be at risk of physical or psychological harm or be placed in an intolerable situation if returned.
  • The child objects to being returned and is old enough and mature enough to have his/her opinion taken into account.

There are no costs associated with The Hague Convention application process; however there may be costs associated with the legal proceedings and travel costs.

There are currently 80 countries who have signed the Hague convention: Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, China (Hong Kong), China (Macao), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, FYR of Macedonia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, USA, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

Note: In some countries, the Hague Convention pertains to only certain provinces, states, or territories of the country.

EFFECTS ON THE VICTIMS

The Left-Behind Family

The first thing that the left-behind family experiences is shock and disbelief. They cannot believe that their loved one has been taken away by a fellow family member. Panic as to the whereabouts of the child and how to get proper assistance will cause both the left-behind parent and any left-behind siblings to experience serious emotional distress.

The left-behind parent often has an incredibly difficult time maintaining work commitments while searching for their child. Feelings of anger, resentment, fear, anxiety, despair, loneliness, and guilt are common emotions. Most left-behind parents also suffer from disturbances in sleep patterns, loss of appetite, and severe depression. The emotional turmoil might also manifest in physical symptoms such as re-occurring headaches and nausea. And in some situations, the parent may turn to drugs or alcohol to handle the pain.

Any left-behind siblings also experience the pain of the loss of their brother/sister. Like the left-behind parents, the siblings also experience a variety of emotions and physical ailments. Since their parent is so focused on the return of the kidnapped child, the other children may feel neglected and develop hostile feelings towards the kidnapped child for taking all of the attention.

The Abducted Child

Despite the fact that the abducted child is with their parent or guardian, the experience can be terrifying and cause long-term damage. Often these children will live the life of a fugitive; dragged around by their parent from place to place in an effort to avoid authorities. The distress of suddenly losing friends and family and having to deal with constantly changing environments is an incredibly stressful experience. Even when the child is safely returned he/she will still be affected by the experience. A fear of abandonment and loss of trust are common issues for children who have been kidnapped by a parent. They may also suffer from depression, loneliness, excessive fearfulness, helplessness and anger. There are a number of mental disorders that are commonly associated with parental child abductions such as separation anxiety disorder, ADHDPTSD, eating disorders, learning disabilities and conduct disorder. As the experience of abduction can have such a traumatic effect on the child, it is important that the parent or guardian get the child proper help as soon as he or she is returned.

HELPFUL TIPS

One of the most important things a parent can do to help avoid parental abduction is to remain on good terms with the other parent and try to remain on good terms with the child’s other grandparents. If you expect that your child is at risk of abduction, make sure to talk to him or her. Explain how the custody situation works, teach them how to use the phone (especially 911 and long distance), make sure that your children know that you love them, and listen to them – information they provide may be your first clue. Keep track of what they wear on a daily basis. Keep records of all important information and store it in a safe place that is unknown or inaccessible to the other parent. As indicated earlier, it is also possible to add your child to the passport control list.

If your child is abducted by the other parent, get in touch with local authorities immediately. Provide them with any information you have and limit access to your home until law enforcement has collected any possible evidence. Contact the birth certificate office to block any application for a birth certificate by the abducting parent (you will need specific documentation to do this). Contact any search organizations such as Child Find and register your child as missing. If you plan to go to the media, ask the police for help and advice on the best way to do so. Most importantly, take care of yourself and your family, you need to be strong for your child and any other children left behind.

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Japan close to joining Hague Convention


Source: Dadsdivorce.com

Japan close to joining Hague Convention to address parental kidnappings

Because of the difference between Japanese and American laws regarding custody and kidnapping, Japan has become a safe refuge for parents who abduct their own children and want to keep them away from their American fathers.

That may no longer be the case, though, as Japan has endorsed plans to bring itself in line with the international child custody convention commonly referred to as the Hague Convention, according to an Associated Press report.

The Hague Convention is a treaty between roughly 80 countries that agree to cooperate and abide by one set of laws for the return of children removed from their home country over custody disputes. (For more information, read the article “Hague Convention – International Child Abduction Help.”)

International kidnapping of children of divorce is exacerbated when the kidnapping parent retreats to countries such as Japan, who have not signed the Hague Convention.

Japan has been seen as a safe harbor for kidnapper parents, though increased attention and foreign pressure was put on the country following the 2009 case of Christopher Savoie.

Savoie was imprisoned in Japan for trying to rescue his kidnapped children after his ex-wife broke Tennessee state law by illegally removing the children from the United States. (Watch our interview with Savoie’s lawyer shortly after his client was arrested.)

Current Japanese law allows only one parent to have custody of children in divorce cases — nearly always the mother, according to the AP story. That has kept foreign, and even Japanese fathers, from having access to their children.

The AP said the new law would allow foreign parents more access to their children. While it is expected that the Cabinet will approve the change in custody laws, the proposal must also by approved by parliament, according to the AP story.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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Custodial father sues airline for helping ex-wife abduct his son


Source: Brisbane Times

A US man has sued Japan Airlines, claiming it wrongfully helped his Japanese ex-wife leave the United States with their son, despite court orders that the child remain in California.

Scott Sawyer alleges the airline and a US travel agency agency knowingly assisted his ex-wife, Japanese national Kyoko Sawyer, take their son Wayne to Japan in December 2008 when the boy was two years old.

“There is a long list of red flags that existed in this case that should have caused the airline and travel agency to do something,” lawyer Mark Meuser said on Saturday.

The companies were “deliberately turning blind eyes to the known parental kidnapping problem endemic to Japan and the warning signals surrounding this case,” Meuser added in a statement.

Japan is the only major industrial country that has not signed the 1980 Hague Convention, which requires the return of wrongfully held children to their countries of usual residence.

When international marriages break up, Japanese courts rarely grant custody to a foreign parent, particularly fathers.

Activists say thousands of foreigners, mostly men, have been barred at some point from seeing their children once the youngsters have been taken to Japan by the estranged partners. Sawyer has not seen his son since his ex-wife took him to Japan more than two years ago.

The lawsuit was filed this week in Los Angeles Superior Court, which in 2008 approved the divorce and granted shared custody of Wayne, who is now four years old.

Sawyer’s ex-wife had been ordered to turn in her passport and to not travel with the boy outside five counties in and around Los Angeles, Meuser said.

But she left San Francisco on a flight to Japan after having obtained a Japanese passport for her son just days prior, Meuser said.

Meuser said there is no law requiring the airline and travel agency to check custody issues on travel from the United States to Japan, but said they should be held responsible nonetheless.

“They should have flagged everybody,” he said. “Wayne has red hair. He’s clearly bi-racial and he’s going to a country known to have problems with parental kidnapping. They had all the warning signs.”

Sawyer’s lawyers said airlines and travel agencies should require parents traveling alone with a minor child to Japan to obtain legal approval from the non-traveling parent authorising the child’s trip.

US State Department figures, cited by the lawyers, show that 230 cases of parental abductions involving 321 children have been opened since 1994.

Japan said in September that it was seriously considering signing the international treaty to stop child abductions, although officials said it may take time as the nation would need to change domestic laws.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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International child abductions tear families apart


Source: Katie Worth – The Sfexaminer

Dusk had long since fallen over the jungles of northwestern Honduras, but
Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/international-child-abductions-tear-families-apart#ixzz1MAXmMS3z
Lt. Carlos Sanchez could still make out the three children playing in the dirty yard of the bare hut his team had surrounded.

Those children, ages 3, 6 and 8, were his quarry. Sanchez, an investigator from the San Francisco District Attorney’s office, had been searching for them for the better part of a year. The children had been abducted from San Francisco by their father in June 2008, and he had carefully hidden them. It took an exhaustive investigation to follow their trail here. Though his team was close, Sanchez knew they had to be careful because smuggling and other crime made this border village dangerous.

The children were victims of what the U.S. Department of State believes is a growing phenomenon: international child abduction. According to State Department statistics, there are about 3,000 children currently missing who have been abducted by a parent and ensconced out of the U.S. At least 400 of those missing children are from California — about 50 from the Bay Area.

The issue of international child abduction briefly received widespread attention last Christmas when a New Jersey father successfully retrieved his 9-year-old son from Brazil, where his mother had taken him for a visit and never returned. After her death, the boy’s stepfather refused to return him to the U.S. until courts forced him to.

The international press treated the Brazil case as an anomaly. In fact, the number of open international kidnapping cases have doubled in about a decade: In 1998, there were about 1,000 open cases, according to nonprofit Committee for Missing Children. Today, there are about 2,000 open cases, State Department spokesman Ryan Palsrok said.

In part because of the sharp increase, State Department officials visited San Francisco last month and met with many of the families awaiting their children’s return, Palsrok said.

Rising numbers are tied to the increasing ease and affordability of international travel. The poor economy may also encourage more kidnappings, with unemployed parents deciding to return to their home countries, Palsrok said.

The abductions are complicated, because both parents often feel they are right in their actions. Because the abductions are international, multiple countries’ legal systems are often involved, as well as an international body empowered by a 1980 Hague Conference treaty.

According to the treaty, an abducted child must be returned to his or her “country of habitual residence,” whose courts will determine the best outcome for the child.

In the Honduran case Sanchez was working last spring, the children’s mother had sole custody of her children, but the father had visiting rights. On June 13, 2008, the father picked up the children for a scheduled visit and told them he was taking them to Disneyland. When the mother did not hear from them, she tried and failed to contact the father. She found his apartment empty. She suspected he would take the children to Honduras, where he had family.

The City’s District Attorney’s Office became involved because in California, the State Department asks those offices to take a lead in finding internationally abducted children.

The mother was beside herself with anxiety. In a court document a year later, she wrote that her sole comfort was their scent still stuck on their clothes, which she sniffed every day, “until they smelled no more.”

Investigators learned the father drove to Texas in a rented car, put the children in the back of a truck and drove them through Mexico and into Honduras. He stayed with them for several weeks, but eventually left them with his family in a village outside the city of San Pedro Sula.

When the investigation pinpointed them, Sanchez and a recovery team flew down. After securing the perimeter with local police, Sanchez and his team approached the hut and talked to the children’s grandmother. He explained the children were going to come with him and be returned to their mother.

The children had been sleeping on old mattresses, had been bitten by bats and mosquitoes and were infected with lice. They did not want to leave, in part because they had been told that their mother didn’t want them anymore, and that their father would go to jail if they ever left with authorities.

The District Attorney’s Office requested the family not be identified.

“It’s always really dramatic for children, because they’re usually being ripped from someone they love,” Sanchez said. “We told them they were leaving and they were crying.”

But a day later in the U.S., comforted, debriefed and prepared for the reunification, they rushed into their mother’s arms.

“It was like day and night,” he said. “It’s great to see a reunification. Unless you’re dead, you can’t go without crying.”

Mexico abduction yields happy ending

The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office sees about two child custody cases a month, but in most of them, both parents are within the county, and one of them is keeping the child a little longer than they should.

Sometimes, however, Inspector Ivan Grosshauser responds to cases where a child has been taken out of the country without the permission of the other parent or the courts.

In one case, he recalled, a couple with a 4-year-old son split up, and the father, “kind of a control guy,” asked for sole custody. When San Mateo County’s family court granted dual custody, the father took the child to Mexico.

The mother was reluctant to approach law enforcement because she was not a U.S. citizen, but finally did so when the father told her he would not allow her to speak to her son unless she sent him money. The situation deteriorated quickly, Grosshauser said.

“At some point he threatened the mother that if she came to get the child, he would kill the child,” he said.

A break came when the father left the child briefly with the mother’s relatives, and they contacted her. Grosshauser flew to Mexico City. The family turned over the child, who was excited to return to his mother.

“It was a very long day — we flew back from Mexico City to Tijuana so I could walk him over the border, and then got on another flight in San Diego,” he said.

“But after that long day, at 10:30 at night, I pulled up to the meeting place, and the mother was there, and I opened the car door and the little boy steps out, and there was that absolute spontaneous yelp of a mother who never thought she’d see her kid again,” Grosshauser said. “It was very, very satisfying for me.”

Guarding against international parental child kidnapping

– A well-written custody decree: This can be an important line of defense against international parental child abductions. The decree can include a statement that explicitly prohibits your child from traveling abroad without your permission or that of the court. If the other parent has significant ties to a foreign country, the court can require that parent to post a bond that would be forfeited if they leave with the child.

– Passport Issuance Alert Program: You may ask that the State Department alert you if an application for a U.S. passport for the child is received. Because it is much easier to travel out of the country with a child if the child has a passport, preventing one from being issued can deter international travel.

– Quickly alert the State Department: If the child is in the process of being abducted but is not yet abroad, contact the department’s Office of Children’s Issues. The office can work with law enforcement in the U.S. and in other countries to try to stop the departure of children being abducted from the U.S.

The Office of Children’s Issues can be reached at (202) 736-9090 during working hours, and (888) 407-4747 evenings, holidays and weekends. For additional details on missing children, visit www.missingkids.com. If you have information on a missing child, call (800) 843-5678

Source: U.S. Department of State, Office of Children’s Issues

Unresolved cases

2,000: Open cases of international parental abductions known by the U.S. Department of State

3,000: Children involved in these cases

400: Children taken from California

50: Children taken from the Bay Area

50: Percent increase in cases reported to the State Department in the last two years

62: Countries on six continents where children from California have been taken

Source: U.S. Department of State
Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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Norwegian/Maltese Child Abduction -Maltese father wins child ‘abduction’ case


Friday, 4th February 2011

Toddler to stay with dad after mum claims abduction

The young son of a couple who met on the internet will remain in Malta with his Maltese father after a court dismissed his Norwegian mother’s claim he had been abducted.

Madam Justice Anna Felice ruled the island was the child’s habitual residence after the couple had travelled to Malta intending to establish their residence here.

The child’s parents met over the internet in 2008 and the mother travelled to Malta and remained here until January the following year. On her return to Norway she discovered she was pregnant and the father moved to Norway to be with her.

Following the birth of the child in September 2009, the father found out the mother had another child from a previous marriage. This child had been removed from her care and placed in a foster home, the court heard.

The second child was born suffering from withdrawals from the medication the mother used to take and the Norwegian Social Services intervened. This led to both parents fearing the child would be taken away from them and they decided to leave Norway and come to Malta when the child was only a few days old.

They immediately had the child registered as a Maltese national and established a home together. However, their relationship ended last year and the father was awarded care and custody of the child in January 2010. The mother returned to Norway.

Claiming the father had abducted the child, she submitted a request to the Department for Standards in Social Protection for the child to be returned to Norway.

The father argued that, as he and the mother had come to Malta when their son was only a few days old intending to establish their residence here, this was not a case of child abduction.

The Family Court heard that, in terms of the Hague Convention on child abduction, no court was obliged to order the return of a child if the contesting parent had consented to the child travelling. Nor was the court obliged to order the return if this could expose the child to physical or psychological danger.

Madam Justice Felice noted it resulted from the evidence the couple had intended to establish their residence here and that this country constituted the child’s habitual residence. It also resulted that the mother suffered from mental illness and that her state of health was poor.

The court, therefore, refused the mother’s request to order the return of the child to Norway.

Source: Times Of Malta

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services

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More Norwegian children snatched


The number of children taken illegally out of Norway by one of their separated parents has more than doubled in the past year.

Nearly 400 Norwegian children have disappeared overseas in the past decade, and authorities fear economic motives are behind several of the abductions.


Under Norwegian law, a parent who loses his or her child to their former partner must still continue to pay child support. As long as the child lives with one of the parents, the other must pay child support, even if a Norwegian court has ruled that the child was illegally abducted.

‘Good business’

Child support payments often amount to around NOK 5,000 (USD 900), a lot of money in many countries. ”Rumors are beginning to fly overseas that it’s good business to abduct Norwegian children,” Martin Waage of security firm ABP World Group Ltd. told newspaper Aftenposten. “I know of some cases where the abductions were probably planned even before the children were conceived.” Most of the children abducted between 2004 and 2010 were taken to Sweden, followed by Great Britain and the US. total of 64 children disappeared last year, compared to 31 in 2009, according to figures from the ministries of justice and foreign affairs.

Martin Waage specializes in child abductions and dealt with around 50 cases last year alone. In the most difficult cases, he has found children and brought them home to Norway after armed counter-abductions. Government officials agree that child support laws can be a motivating factor in some cases, and state secretary Astri Aas-Hansen in the Justice Ministry told Aftenposten that they’re reviewing current regulations: “We see that (the child support) can contribute towards the child being abducted and held abroad.”

‘High priority’

She said the ministry is making child abductions a high priority. Police have received special instructions in how to handle abductions, Norway has hosted seminars for judges and others in the Baltic countries, for example, and efforts are being made to urge other countries to adopt international rules against child abductions. The problem is that many countries like Slovakia haven’t followed up on the rules.

“We have put this on the agenda in international circles,” Aas-Hansen told Aftenposten. The ministry also has compiled a website, in English, with information and tips for parents involved in abduction cases.

The efforts haven’t yet helped fathers like Tommy Hoholm, who has been trying to retrieve his two sons from their mother, who took them to Slovakia. He hasn’t seen them for four years, despite court rulings in both Norway and Slovakia that he has custody of the boys. He told Aftenposten their mother is keeping them hidden, something she denies.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

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THE LEFT-BEHIND PARENT


Your Experience of Missing-Child Trauma

Source:www.lilaclane.com/missing-children/left-behind/

Your child has been kidnapped or is missing, and here on the internet you’ll find a lot of valuable support, legal information, and contacts. However, there will be many difficult hours where you will feel very much alone — and this page is meant to help you get through those times.
THE INITIAL CRISIS
The first few days are incredibly confusing. You’ll receive a lot of advice. Here’s a little more. 

ENLIST A GUARDIAN
You need a cool head to guide you. As the left-behind parent, you’re going to be in shock, so your intellectual capabilities will be compromised. Enlist a relative or friend to be your crisis Guardian — you will need them to stay with you and accompany you to all appointments. Ideally, they should take a week off from work to be by your side.

If you have a current spouse living with you, they should not try to fill this role. They can’t — they’re in shock too. You need a third person, someone with enough emotional distance to stay calm.

KEEP TRACK OF YOUR PROGRESS
Start an activity log and keep it up every day. This will be difficult because the world’s going to be pulling you in ten directions at once, but as the hours and days pass, everything’s going to become a big blur — so you absolutely have to keep track. Get a blank book, notebook or ledger; and every day, record the important points of each meeting with police, phone calls with organizations, etc.  If you don’t have an answering machine, pick one up so that you won’t miss any incoming assistance.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Sleep when you’re able to sleep. Eat when you’re able to eat.

Your body is going to go haywire. Eating will be difficult. Your stomach will often be churning. Carry Tums with you at all times, and nibble them when necessary. Your ability to digest food will disappear, so you’ll need to adapt your eating habits. Keep a wide selection of snacks available, and try to eat at every opportunity. For meals, you’ll have better luck if you try lighter fare than usual. A chicken salad will stay down better than a heavy steak. Drink constantly — dehydration causes disorientation.

Often, you’ll be awake all night, then exhausted the whole next day, so grab your Z’s whenever you can. If it’s 3 pm and you have a gap before a 4 pm meeting, grab the opportunity and lie down. If necessary, take a sleeping pill at bedtime (particularly if nightmares are waking you repeatedly). Sleep deprivation leads to slowed mental processes and, later, paranoia — so you absolutely must get sleep, whenever and however possible.

Since your body and mind are going to be stretched to the limits of endurance, it’s strongly recommended that you go to a 24-hour clinic (or emergency room) and have them prescribe something to stabilize your emotions. A doctor will know what kind of medication can help you get through this trauma. It’s very important that you maintain your sanity no matter how nightmarish the experience becomes.

THE SECOND PHASE
Your emotions will change after the first few days of the crisis. The initial agony is from not knowing from minute to minute. Later, the agony is not knowing day after day.

Most of the time, you’ll find yourself in one of three coping states:

1. INTELLECTUAL STATE. This is the state you need to be in when you’re talking with police, touching base with your lawyer, researching information on what to do, etc. You have to be mentally focused, which usually means that at times you have to push your emotions underneath and try not to think too much about your child except in abstract terms. This state is sometimes forced on you (due to appointments) even when you don’t feel ready. Other times this state will come to you naturally, and you’ll find yourself actively digging through documents and reading information paks.

2. EMOTIONAL STATE. In this state of mind it’s very difficult to focus on anything mentally. Your thoughts are with your child, where they might be, how they might be doing, you miss them and want to comfort them. Crying relieves physical stress, and you’re under tremendous stress, so don’t cut your tears short. If you start to cry, try to sob it out of your system without holding back. Don’t restrict your crying. Enlist your guardian to comfort you — and if you feel the need, hug one of your child’s stuffed animals.

There will be times when you are caught in your reeling emotions, unable to respond to intellectual challenges around you. At these times it will be important for your crisis Guardian to be with you, so they can answer authorities’ questions, help make decisions, etc.

Seeing the child’s photos or toys around the house may become too painful. Don’t feel guilty if you decide to put away these toys, move the photos, or close the door to the child’s room. You are not abandoning their memory. After all, your thoughts are with them constantly. But you do need some control over your emotional cycles, especially when it’s time to gather information or make decisions — at times like that, a photo within sight may be unnecessary torment. Make adjustments in your home if you feel the need, and don’t feel bad about it. You need to keep your head together, in order to fight for your child’s well-being.

3. DRIFTING STATE. There will be times that you’re so exhausted or in such shock that you don’t feel anything at all. You’ll find yourself staring blankly at a wall, or drifting with no thought as you look right through the book or screen in front of you. This is a natural result of the trauma. It’s a time when your system can regroup — recharging your batteries, so to speak. Your intellectual and emotional states burn extraordinary amounts of energy out of your body, so if and when you enter a listless state, don’t fight it. Drift and let your thoughts remain unfocused. Your body and mind can use this time to recover.

All three of these states will be useful to you, and should occur as a natural cycle. If you find yourself stuck in a counterproductive state for longer than one day, go to a 24-hour clinic and have a doctor prescribe medication to help you cope.

DISTRACTIONS
There will be times when you can do nothing — times when you’re supposed to wait for a callback or the next step in the proceedings. Such times are painful as you wait for the world to acknowledge the urgency of this situation… and the wheels of justice grind so slow they’ll seem to have stopped. If you’re at a waiting point, it’s important not to work yourself into hysteria over these empty minutes. You need to seek distraction, or you’re just going to overstress yourself. You’ll particularly need distraction on Saturdays and Sundays, when cases are often placed on hold.

Television is usually a great relaxer, but at this time it won’t be. As you flip the channels you’ll see cartoons, children’s shows, commercials with children — everywhere you look there will be children, including children who look like or remind you of your own child. So don’t channel-surf. Get a TV guide and select a specific show to watch, then turn directly to that program. Choose shows that won’t assail you with family-focus commercials. Good bets are CNN, Animal Planet, nature shows, or non-family movies. Even better, pick videotapes to watch.

GOING OUT
Much of the work of regaining your child will have to do with your phone. You’ll be calling people and waiting for return calls, checking in with lawyers and detectives, and giving updates to family members. Consequently you will frequently find yourself trapped at home. Over time this will make you feel like a freak in a cave. You need to get outside once in a while.

When you go into public with the intention of re-charging your emotional batteries, try not to put yourself into stressful situations. Don’t go to fast-food restaurants; you’ll see many children that remind you of your missing child. Money is an issue now due to the costs of the search, but don’t discount your need to reduce stress. Two visits to McDonalds can be traded for one visit to a nice restaurant, late in the evening, when there won’t be any children dining there.

Shopping is a major source of stress. Malls and supermarkets are full of child-reminders. Ask your Guardian to do the shopping for you. Alternatively, shop at 7-Eleven late in the evening.

Lest this sound like we’re discounting natural emotion:  there’s nothing wrong with allowing your emotions full expression. But it’s much more comforting to let those feelings flow when you want to (instead of when the world forces it on you), in the security of your home, where your loved ones can comfort you and you can express yourself fully.

Good luck with your search.  May you soon be happily reunited with your beloved child.

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National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – This is the ONLY website at which you need to register your child as missing.  NCMEC is a non-profit system with federal affiliation; they work with the law enforcement divisions on your case.  Most other “list your missing child here” websites are hosted by people who’ll contact you and promise to find your child in exchange for large amounts of money.  If you need that kind of help, look for legitimate private-investigator listings, or recovery sites that don’t ask you to “register” your missing child in their database — don’t get duped by people who risk children’s lives for money.

Missing (tv show) – If your child has been classified ‘missing endangered’, see if this show will present your case

Federal Parent Locator Service – 18 USC 55318 USC 663

Missing Children Search Aids – List of contacts

Divorcenet.com – Legal information

Hague Convention Agreement – A means for requesting the return of internationally kidnapped children

Hague Participating Countries – Country by country

Child Abduction Resources – U.S. Department of State

Canada – International Kidnapping Information

International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act, 18 U.S.Code §1204

Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (1980), 28 U.S.C. §1738A

Federal Law / Missing Children Title 42, Chapter 72, Subchapter IV, 5771+

International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 42 U.S.C. §11601

Missing Children Record-Flagging Act – Not in force in all areas yet

Bring Tessie Home page – Our personal struggle with parental kidnapping

Emotional AbuseStalking – Traumas that foreshadow impending parental kidnapping

Laurie’s Webpage Theme Sets – Thank you, Laurie, for the design of this page

Lost links (I’m trying to track them down):
Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (1979), 43 U.S.C. §458A
National Child Search Assistance Act (1990), 42 U.S.C. § 5780)
Homepage of Maureen and Missing Child Nadia

Search Google for more webpages about Parental Abduction

Gift From Within – for those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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The Recovery of Internationally Abducted Children – A Comprehensive Guide (excellent)

When Parents Kidnap

Not Without my Daughter

For the Love of a Child

Torn From my Heart: A Mother’s Search for her Stolen Children

Kidnapped: Child Abduction in America (focuses mostly on non-parental kidnappings)

Obstacles to the Recovery and Return of Parentally Kidnapped Children and many other excellent references at OJJDP

If you need to raise money for your child-abduction case,
it’s possible for you to receive donations from people
via the internet.  Click these links to see how it works.
Sample donation link – Amazon.com
Sample donation link – PayPal.com

Most child kidnappings involve a parent or relative as kidnapper, and that is the experience of our family. However, if your situation is different — the child has been kidnapped by a stranger, or is missing due to other circumstances (such as a runaway) — this page will speak to your experiences too, so please read on….


Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

Visit our web site at: www.abpworld.com

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Parents plea for end to parental abductions in Japan


By the CNN Wire Staff

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Japan has not signed Hague treaty protecting against international parental abduction
  • A woman in Canada is unable to see her son after divorcing Japanese man
  • Secretary of State Clinton has addressed the issue wth Japan

Tokyo (CNN) — Parents torn apart from their children protested in Tokyo on Sunday, calling on the Japanese government to sign an international treaty that would reunite them with their sons and daughters.

“Stop parental child abduction,” the parents cried. “Sign the Hague Convention.”

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Abduction is a multilateral treaty that dates to 1983. It often comes into play when parents divorce, and one parent takes the child back to his or her home country, keeping the child away from the other parent who may have partial or full custody. The treaty effectively forces signatory nations to recognize that custody.

Dozens of countries have signed onto it — the official website lists 84 “contracting states” to the convention — but Japan is not among them.

Calls for Japan to sign the convention have increased as heartbreaking stories have come to light.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the issue after a meeting this month with Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Seiji Maehara.

Clinton said she had “encouraged Minister Maehara and the Government of Japan to work toward ratification of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.”

Among those protesting Sunday was Masako Akeo Suzuki, who had married a Japanese man in Vancouver, Canada. After their divorce, her ex-husband returned to Japan with their son without notifying her. He then got sole custody in Japan, and kept the child from her.

She doesn’t even know where in Japan her son lives.

“I love him like all parents do, I miss him very much” she said in tears. “I want to hold my son. Please help me and my son. Please help me. … Kids are suffering.”

Suzuki helped organize Sunday’s event. “I sometimes lose my patience and almost give up my hope,” she said, adding that she “can’t stop” for the sake of her son “and other children.”

Japan is the only G7 country not to sign the convention.

Yomiuri newspaper, one of Japan’s biggest papers, reported that the country has decided to set up a council to weigh joining the convention. The council would compile a report by the end of March that could allow Prime Minister Naoto Kan to make an announcement on joining the convention during his scheduled visit to the United States in the spring.

Kevin Brown, a father who could lose all rights to see his son, told CNN it’s time for Japan to sign.

“They’ve been saying the same thing for 20 years: ‘We are studying this issue, we are thinking about it doing it.’ But they never make any changes. It’s time — they need to make the change.”

But some critics say Japan joining the convention would not solve cases of international parental abductions. They argue Japan’s domestic legal system needs to be improved and prepared for the increasing numbers of marriages between Japanese people and foreign nationals.

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Non Custodial Parental Kidnapping


If I think that the other parent may abduct my child, is there anything I can do?

You may want to immediately contact a lawyer who can help you figure out what you can do to try to prevent abduction.

You can convince a judge that your concerns are “reasonable” based on the facts, a court may take steps to prevent the other parent from abducting your child. If you think that the other parent may flee the state with the purpose of kidnapping your child, then there are a couple of possible options that might work:

  1. File a criminal complaint against the other parent (but this may only work if the other parent is in the process of fleeing the jurisdiction in violation of a court order or with the purpose of kidnapping your child)
  2. Attempt to get an emergency temporary restraining order from family court.

If you think that the other parent may try to take your child out of the country, you could ask the court to seize your child’s passport so s/he cannot leave the country.  This is important due to the fact that there is no way to track the use of a passport once it has been issued, since there are no exit controls for people leaving the U.S.*

Also, if you are seeking custody of your children, you can ask the judge to include a provision that the non-custodial parent is not allowed to travel with your child out of the state or the country. If you already have a custody order, you can ask the judge to add this requirement to it.   However, even if the judge does not agree to order that the child cannot be removed from the county, there is still something you can do.  The State Department provides the following service:

“You can ask that your child’s name be entered into the State Department’s Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program by contacting the Office of Children’s Issues’ Prevention Unit at 202-736-9156 or faxing a request to 202-736-9133. This will enable the Department to notify you or your attorney if an application for a U.S. passport for the child is received anywhere in the United States or at any U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.  If you have a court order that either grants you sole custody, joint legal custody, or prohibits your child from traveling without your permission or the permission of the court, the Department may refuse to issue a new or renewal U.S. passport for your child. The Department may not, however, revoke a passport that has already been issued to the child.”  http://travel.state.gov/family/abduction/prevention/prevention_560.html

For more information on keeping the other parent from taking your children out of the country, see our Custody InfoKidnapping Info page.

For emergency assistance contact:

ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

The goal of ABP World Group Ltd. 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.

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