Tiger Kidnapping and family hostage situations

April 6 2013

Tiger Kidnapping is an extremely stressful crime whereby criminals abduct a member of staff’s family (often a child) and threaten them with harm unless the employee attends their work place, removes a large sum of money then delivers it into the hands of the criminal.


It’s called ‘Tiger Kidnapping’ because of the way the criminals stalk their victims for some considerable amount of time before the kidnap attack and robbery takes place.

Tiger Kipnapping occurs frequently in Europe

here has also been an increase in Tiger Kidnap offences in England, Scotland and Wales, with some high profile cases attracting media attention because of the scale of loss.

To fully understand the methods and impact on the victims, it’s worth looking at these cases as reported in the media:-

BBC: The Securitas raid followed a classic tiger kidnapping. So what can be done about it?

Mum and her Four-year-old Son Kidnapped for Ransom Demand

Father and son held captive in 11-hour tiger kidnap ordeal by armed gang in cash van heist

The tiger kidnapping  

Preventing Tiger Kidnap


Three areas you may choose to cover off to prevent Tiger Kidnapping are:-

Physical Security – Use of Drop Safes means that no one person has access to to the cash at any one time. Use time locks on the outer safe. Ensure good CCTV covers cash holding areas, and this is monitored for signs of unusual activity.

Adequate Processes and Procedures – Make it impossible for one single person on their own to access cash (dual key doors etc). Strictly enforce access and key controls, and ensure segregation of duties. E.g Store Keyholders don’t have access to the safe. Severely restrict the number of employees who can access cash areas. Have cash operation confidentiality policies backed by disciplinary action.

Situational Awareness – Potentially vulnerable staff and managers are made aware of Tiger Kidnapping, how to spot the likely surveillance which precedes it, and action to take if they see suspicious activity.

The above is intended as a very basic guide. For far more detailed advice and research see the resources below.

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Source: Japan Children`s rights network

Australian parents dealing with the abduction of their child from Australia can access free legal assistance via a new national service which opened today.

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said that the service will provide practical support to parents in distressing circumstances.

“We want to make it as straightforward as possible for parents to get the assistance they need when dealing with the abduction of their children from Australia,” Ms Roxon said.

“The Hague Convention on international child abduction, to which Australia is a signatory, provides a strong mechanism for lawfully seeking the return of abducted children to Australia.

“However, accessing information about the Convention and knowing how to apply to meet its requirements can be daunting for many parents during one of the most stressful and difficult times of their lives.”

The new legal assistance service will complement the counselling and mediation service already provided by International Social Services (ISS) Australia and funded by the Attorney-General’s Department.

The Government’s new funding agreement with ISS will provide a national service to help parents prepare and lodge applications from Australia for the return of, or access to, children under the Convention, and will also address key recommendations from the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee report into international child abduction to and from Australia, tabled on 31 October 2011.

“This service will now provide a one stop shop offering legal and counselling assistance for Australian families affected by the abduction of their child from Australia,” Ms Roxon said.

“With the assistance of International Social Services, Australian parents will be able to apply directly to the Attorney-General’s Department, as the Australian Central Authority – and the national contact – for the Hague Convention.”

ISS can be contacted Toll free on 1300 657 843 or through their websitewww.iss.org.au .

Further information about the Hague Convention is available on the Attorney-General’s Department website www.ag.gov.au/childabduction .

The Australian Central Authority can be contacted on 1800 100 480 or via email CentralAuthority@ag.gov.au .

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‘My children are my everything — the reason I’m alive’

Source: The Japan Times

Left-behind father makes desperate journey to Fukushima to reunite with kids



On Bruce Gherbetti’s right forearm, the names of his three lost children are permanently inscribed in a swirling script of dark blue tattoo ink.


News photo
Canadian Bruce Gherbetti is reunited with his eldest daughter in Fukushima Prefecture in September after a difficult two years apart. SIMON SCOTT


“They go with me everywhere I go,” he says, smiling. “It is a physical representation of the fact that my children and I will never be separated. They are my everything — the reason I am alive.”

It was a very long, painful two years and two weeks before Gherbetti, a Canadian, was finally reunited with his children in Japan this September and was able, if only briefly, to see and speak with them again.

Tears in his eyes, Gherbetti described the reaction of his oldest daughter, now 8, when she saw him standing in the backyard of the house where the children now live.

“(She) saw me and it registered in about four seconds, and she said ‘Dada.’

“I opened my arms and she came running into my arms. I was afraid that wouldn’t happen, but also I was quietly confident in my heart that it would.

“I visualized that whole scenario every day for the last two years. It’s gold — it’s absolute gold.”

The journey from his home in Vancouver to a small town in Fukushima Prefecture just 50 km from the leaking No.1 nuclear plant has been a long and arduous one. In September 2009, during the breakdown of their marriage, Gherbetti’s wife took their three children — then 6, 4 and 2 years old — to Japan.

“I was absolutely devastated.” explains Gherbetti. “I arrived home and the house was utterly empty and devoid of all traces of my family and children. I felt at a loss and confused, but at the same time there was a realization that my children were gone — overseas, back to Japan.”


News photo
Gherbetti and a supporter celebrate after the surprise visit to his estranged wife’s home. SIMON SCOTT


Gherbetti’s wife accused him of domestic violence shortly before taking the children — an allegation he vehemently denies.

After his children were taken, Gherbetti suffered from severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, for which he underwent counseling in Canada. He also joined a number of web-based support groups for left-behind parents and gradually, over time, built up the confidence to come to Japan to find his kids.

On Sept. 21 this year he flew to Japan, and within two days of arriving in the country he travelled up to tsunami-hit Fukushima, accompanied by a group of supporters, in search of his lost children.

All previous attempts Gherbetti had made to contact his children had been blocked by his wife, whom he has only spoken to once since she took the kids to Japan. Gherbetti says that during that conversation, his wife chillingly told him she wanted to “erase Canada from the children’s memories.”

Gherbetti says he can understand and accept that his estranged wife wants to bury the past, but he believes it is his children who will ultimately suffer by being alienated from their natural father.

“None of this is about me, this is about my children,” he says. “I feel what she has done is essentially denied them knowing half of who they are. It is not fair — it is simply not fair.”

Having lost his own father to cancer when he was only 17, Gherbetti, now 41, says he is only too aware of how important it is for children to have both parents in their lives.

“I know what it is to struggle without a father — to make your way in this life without the competence and guidance of a father. It made me realize that if I am ever in the position where I have children, I just want to emulate what he was able to give me. He was a very good man — a good father.”


Treaty is step in right direction, but won’t aid many kids, parents

There are currently 34 Canadian parents listed as having lost access to their children after a Japanese spouse unilaterally took the kids to Japan, according to the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. This number does not include Canadians resident in Japan who have lost contact with their children within the country.

Figures for the United States are much higher, with 100 American left-behind parents fighting to see their children as of January, according to the U.S. State Department.

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo reports an additional 31 cases in which both parents and the children reside in Japan but one parent has been denied access.

Yet “parental child abduction” is not just a problem for foreign spouses of Japanese. Untold numbers of children of Japanese marriages never get to know both parents.

Japan is the only G-7 member nation that hasn’t signed the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, a treaty designed to protect the rights of child victims of international abduction by returning them to their place of habitual residence.

Earlier this year Japan made a commitment to eventually ratify the treaty, and this is clearly a step in the right direction, but for many victims of the country’s much-criticized custody laws, it will be too little too late.

The treaty only covers cross-border cases of child abduction and will do nothing to help children spirited away within Japan or the left-behind parents who want to be part of their lives.

In addition, the convention will not be applied retroactively, so it won’t alleviate the suffering of thousands of children already abducted to Japan who have no contact with their foreign parent. (Simon Scott)


Gherbetti believes his wife is a good mother and loves their children very much, but he doesn’t understand how she can deny them access to a person in their life who is critical to their development — namely, their father.

“There are definitely things I can bring to the table — as a male, as a father, and as a Westerner even — that are relevant and useful, I’m sure, for these children,” he says.

“The kids might want to talk to me about things that they are experiencing. ‘Maybe I’ll just talk to Dad about this situation and see what he has to say about this’ — rudimentary stuff but, that said, crucial to the emotional well-being and development of a child.”

Gherbetti acknowledges that he doesn’t know his estranged wife’s motives for denying him the right to play a part in his children’s lives, because she refuses to communicate with him, but he suspects that, beyond feelings of bitterness relating to the breakup of their marriage, they hold different values regarding the importance both parents can play in a child’s upbringing.

“I think there is a cultural issue at play here,” he says. “When the marriage fails, as far as I understand it, in Japan, traditionally access and contact with the left-behind parent is viewed as an inconvenience. It is so completely different from our Western philosophies — that children have the right to know both their parents, a right to know their whole family.”

Armed with only the old address of his wife’s family home and a lot of faith, Gherbetti made the journey from Tokyo up to Fukushima to seek out his kids. Prior to being reunited with his children, Gherbetti described his motivation for the surprise visit.

“I would simply like for the children to realize that I am still alive. I don’t know what they have been told. I don’t know what they believe or what they know at this point. I just want to arrive and give them the opportunity to see that I am here.”

Attempts by left-behind parents to reunite with their children in Japan are rarely successful and sometimes result in arrest for the alienated parent, particularly if they attempt to retake custody of their children.

In 2009, U.S. citizen Christopher Savoie was arrested and imprisoned in Fukuoka when he attempted to retrieve his two abducted children while they were walking to school. Savoie, who had been awarded legal custody of the children in the United States before their abduction to Japan, attempted to take them to the U.S. consulate in Fukuoka but was arrested by Japanese police outside the gates. He was detained for two weeks and released without charge, but never regained custody of his children.

Gherbetti says he has no intention of trying to take back his children and is not even seeking custody. He just wants to visit them from time to time and to communicate with them on a regular basis via telephone or Skype — something his wife will not allow him to do.


News photo
Gherbetti holds up a note apparently written by his 6-year-old daughter, handed to him by his eldest daughter during their brief reunion. SIMON SCOTT


Gherbetti’s wife was not at home on the day of his surprise visit to Fukushima, and his children were at home with their extended family, which he suspects may have been why things went so smoothly. Also fortuitously, his 6-year-old daughter was playing in the backyard when he arrived at the house.

He called out to her, and when she came over he passed a bunch of flowers to her across the fence, but — overwhelmed and confused after seeing her father for the first time in two years — she quickly ran back inside.

“Seeing me brought forward a flood of emotions that she probably couldn’t deal with at her 6-year-old age,” he says. “She was only 4 when she was abducted, so there is some confusion.”

She didn’t reappear in person, but Gherbetti’s eldest daughter delivered a note from the 6-year-old just before the visit ended.

“I think (she) was able to express her feelings the best way she knew how, and whether or not she or (her older sister) wrote the note, the expression is clear: ‘Dady Love’ — I love my daddy.”

Getting to see his three children again after over two years, even if only for a short moment, means the world to Gherbetti, and it has reaffirmed his commitment to his children despite the uncertain future.

“The hug . . . and the note . . . have provided me the fuel required to see this journey on to the end,” he says. “I’m willing to do anything and everything to reconnect with my children.”

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Recovering Kidnapped / Abducted Children

Time is a very important factor if a child is missing / Abducted

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

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Explosion outside the Prime Ministers Office in Oslo – Norway

The attack left several people injured but the prime minister was reported to be safe [Photo by Geir-Olav Goksøyr]

An explosion has blown out most windows of a government building housing the prime minister’s office and left several people injured, news agencies say.

Friday’s blast blew out most windows on the 17-storey building housing Jens Stoltenberg’s office, as well as nearby ministries, including the oil ministry, which was on fire.

Camilla Ryste, a government spokeswoman, told the Associated Press news agency Stoltenberg was safe.

A Reuters correspondent, Walter Gibbs, said he counted at least eight injured people. The cause of the blast was unknown but the tangled wreckage of a car was outside one building.

And an Associated Press reporter said newspaper offices in the area were also damaged and smoke could be seen drifting in the streets.

The reporter said he saw a young man with a bleeding leg being helped away from the area. It was not immediately clear whether there were other injuries.

Kristina Overn, a Norwegian journalist, said people were surprised that Norway had been targeted.

“People are really surprised. I am very surprised. People are shocked that this could happen in Oslo,” she told Al Jazeera.

“People are quite calm, they are not running around or anything. But people are quite shocked. I think most Norwegians consider themselves to be outside of incidents like this.”

Last:  Several people shot at the labour partys summer camp

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International Child Abduction – Spain

By Velasco Lawyers

It is quite common to hear about separated parents living in different countries where one parent denies the return of a child after a temporary parental visit.

Spain protects parents who have child custody and who are residents in Spain through their national laws, international agreements and bilateral agreements between countries. In particular the Organic Law 9/2002, of the 10 December; The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction signed on the 25th October 1980; The European Council agreement related to judicial decisions for the custody of minors of the 20th May 1980 and the bilateral agreement between Morocco and Spain related to the enforcement of judicial decisions concerning the custody and the return of minors of the 30th May 1995. The latter was deemed a necessity due to the amount of legal cases regarding the return of children abducted by parents during visits to Spain or Morocco.

What is child abduction?
Spanish law is clear about what child abduction is, and it takes these cases extremely seriously:
The removal of a child from their place of residence without the consent of the parent with whom he usually lives or the people or institutions in whose care the child was entrusted.

The retention of a child is a serious breach of an established judicial or administrative decision.
The penalty can be from 2 to 4 years of imprisonment plus the loss of the right to parental authority (patria potestad) for 4 to 10 years.
If the abducting parent informs the other parent or the institution in charge of the child, of their exact location with the promise of immediate return, there will be no charges as long as the period of abduction is less than 24 hours.

International visitation rights
A parent who is a resident in Spain and who receives a request for visitation rights from the other parent in a different country has to legally comply with the request as long as it conforms to the divorce or separation agreement (convenio regulador). The situation can be a terrible dilemma for the parent with custody if they suspect that the other parent will not return the child. In this case a Spanish lawyer experienced in International Family Law should be consulted immediately.

Claiming the child back
For countries outside the international conventions cited above, once the child is abducted it might be difficult to legally force the authorities of the other country to return the child. For countries complying with the treaties above there is a legal route which must be followed to get the child back but the amount of time for the return can vary greatly. The UK, New Zealand and Australia for example will return the child very quickly.

In cases of abduction, time is of the essence. If the child is out of Spain for more than a year, the judge in the visiting country could stop the return process if the other parent can demonstrate that the child has integrated perfectly in their new environment.

If one of the parents suspects abduction it is important to immediately consult a Spanish lawyer, who is experienced in International Family Law, in order to preventively evaluate all options; even more importantly when abduction has already taken place, to be able to explore all possible legal ways for the safe return of the child.

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If you suspect that your child is at risk of parental kidnapping, now is the time to prepare.

By: Jake Morphonios

Parental child abduction is the unlawful kidnapping of a child by one parent which deprives the other parent of his or her lawful custodial rights. This kind of child snatching not only victimizes the other parent, but it is also a serious form of child abuse.

When the abducting parent chooses to go underground or flees the state or country, recovery of the child becomes exceptionally difficult – and sometimes impossible. Because of this, if you suspect that your child is at risk of abduction you must act now. There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of abduction, as well as actions designed to make the recovery of your child far more likely.

It takes time, time that you don’t have, to assemble sufficient documentation to provide to authorities following the abduction of your child. To complicate matters, should your child be kidnapped you will most certainly not be in a calm state of mind.  Focusing well enough to collect necessary materials will be difficult.  Therefore, preassemble two sets of the following documents:

On the Children

  • Several recent color photos of each of your children
  • Two sets of your children’s fingerprints
  • A list of your children’s social security numbers
  • Copies of medical insurance cards
  • A list of the child’s scars or other distinguishing physical marks
  • Any passport numbers or drivers license numbers
  • A list of your children’s bank account numbers
  • A copy of any court order regarding child custody
  • All your child’s email addresses or networking sites such as MySpace
  • Your children’s cell phone number(s)

On the Other Parent

  • Several recent color photos of the other parent or potential family abductor
  • A list of the other parent’s scars or other distinguishing physical marks
  • Two sets of the other parent’s fingerprints, if available
  • Any passport or drivers license numbers
  • A list of the other parent’s email addresses or social networking sites such as MySpace
  • The other parent’s telephone number(s) and all known addresses
  • The names and contact information of the other parent’s close friends and family
  • A list of all credit cards, bank accounts or other financial data
  • Car information including, registrations, serial numbers makes, models, descriptions
  • A list of any bank or retirement accounts, negotiable instruments and brokerage accounts
  • A list of any other assets which could quickly be liquidated for cash

The purpose in creating two sets of materials is so that the materials can be kept in two separate “safe” spots. If the abductor takes your set from your home, you will still be able to obtain the other set. Leave this other set somewhere you can access quickly, such as in the home of a local family member or friend. Do not leave the information in a safe deposit box because if the abduction takes place after banking hours you won’t be able to obtain your file.

Should your child be kidnapped, it is vital to quickly locate their whereabouts. Having materials gathered and well-organized will assist both you and the authorities in launching a quick and effective search for your children.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

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Parental child abduction – help and info

by Kendra Inman

parental child abduction | help and info

When relationships break down, a minority of parents cannot face the prospect of living apart from their child or even of sharing the care of the children with their ex-partner. Occasionally, a parent will decide to take the law into their own hands and bring their children to live with them without the permission of the other parent or the courts – an act called parental child abduction.

It can occur whether or not the parents are separated or divorced and sometimes even regardless of the existence of court orders. Abducting a child – also called kidnapping – is a criminal as well as a civil offence, although the criminal law is hardly ever invoked and it is left to the parent who has lost the child to use the civil courts to get the child back. Even then this will be a steeply uphill task – though prevention is slightly easier than cure.

Anecdotal evidence suggests parental child abduction is increasingly common, says Denise Carter, director of Reunite, a campaigning charity set up to help parents whose children have been abducted or who are involved in international custody disputes.

home alone

Whatever the reason for the snatch, losing a child through abduction is a traumatic experience, says Ms Carter.

Parents react differently, she says. Some are incredibly strong and focused on getting their child back. Others can become severely depressed from their loss and turn their anger and upset inward against themselves.

Reunite can help parents refocus their energies into more positive action.

‘We encourage them to do one proactive thing a day such as dig out photographs or make a call.’

children’s rights

How much a child is affected by abduction varies with each case, the place and country that they’re taken to and how they are now being brought up by the parent who snatched them.

Where and how they’ve been living is often more important than how long they’ve been away from the parent with custody they’ve been snatched from, she explains.

A British child taken to an English-speaking country may be less disturbed by the experience than a child taken to a country where there are significant language and cultural differences. In other words, if the environment feels more familiar to them they will be better able to adjust.

On the downside, factors such as high conflict between the parents and the breaking of other important ties and connections will have a detrimental impact on the child.

against the clock

A parent whose child has been snatched has to face the fact that time is running against them. If their child has recently been abducted the courts are likely to work to restore the ‘status quo’ and send the child back home as quickly as possible.

But the longer the child is away there is a danger that the ‘status quo’ from the child’s point of view will switch to the abducting parent’s home.

‘If a child has been away for a long time, such as two years, the court might need to question whether it is in the best interests of that child to bring them back,’ says Ms Carter. The paramount consideration for the courts here will be the welfare of the child and it will focus on the child’s best interests rather than the war between the parents.

out of reach

‘International child abduction is a growing problem globally, but particularly from the UK,’ she says.

Reasons behind this increase include greater numbers of relationships between partners of different nationalities and easier and cheaper travel facilities.

Statistics taken from the Reunite advice line suggest that child abduction across an international barrier has increased by 87% since 1995. The Child Abduction Unit, part of the Lord Chancellor’s Department which deals with abductions to countries signed up to one of two international agreements, says it deals with over 500 children annually. Recently Reunite has noticed an increase in abductions by British women who marry a foreign national and bring their children home to the UK when the marriage goes wrong.

international agreements – help under the civil law

To date, 69 states, including the UK have either or both the Hague and/or European Conventions including: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Canada (most states), Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus (southern), Czech Republic, Denmark Ecuador, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Iceland, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macao, Macedonia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, St.Kitts and Nevis, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Turkmenistan, USA, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Two international conventions, The Hague Convention and the European Convention, became law here from 1985. The two-fold purposes of each Convention are to secure the immediate return of a child to his or her own country of habitual residence and to ensure that international disputes over access are dealt with by the country of origin.

Both Conventions actively discourage the courts from looking at the merits of the case except in certain very restricted circumstances – they are there to ensure the children are returned home.

Countries that are signatories agree to follow a set protocol. Under the Hague Convention children must be returned to the country of ‘habitual residence’ if they have been wrongfully removed or access and custody rights breached. The European Convention covers most European states, whilst the net of the Hague Convention spreads more widely across the world. To make an application under the Conventions both countries must be signatories. Parents whose children have been abducted from England and Wales to a country that has signed the Hague Convention can apply for help through the Lord Chancellors Department Child Abduction Unit who will help them complete a questionnaire and process the application to the signatory country where the child is now living. The court authorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland provide similar help.

legal hurdles

How long it will take to deal with the application for return will depend on the country concerned, the circumstances of the case and indeed whether the child can be traced. The average length of time is five to six months, but children abducted to New Zealand or Scandinavia for example can be returned within a month.

Tracing a child overseas is fraught with difficulties, says Ms Carter.

‘If a child is abducted and brought to the UK, the parent who seeks to get the child returned home may be able to get legal aid. If a child is abducted and taken to a country where there is no legal aid the parent in pursuit will need to find a ‘pro bono’ lawyer (one that works in a scheme that offers free legal advice) if they can’t afford the legal fees themselves.

‘You may get a fantastic lawyer or you may not. How much help you get varies with the country,’ she says.

The Child Abduction Unit can provide parents with information about legal costs in specific countries.

outside the Conventions

The Conventions are only valid in countries that have signed up to them. If a child is moved to a country which isn’t a signatory, wronged parents have no legal remedy in this country to secure the child’s return. Their only option is to travel to the foreign country to start off proceedings for the child’s return in that jurisdiction. Inevitably this will be very time consuming and expensive and sadly success is far from guaranteed.

Depending on the laws of the country concerned, the courts might well make decisions in favour of abducting parents. Where there are no international agreements, parents need to contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for advice on how to proceed. This office can provide a list of local lawyers who correspond in English, approach local authorities for help in tracing the child’s whereabouts and provide informal help locally.

The office is also involved in discussions with non-convention countries to give practical support such as visiting rights to UK parents.

the power of the press

Sometimes using the media to publicise a case can yield results. In one case a child was abducted from the US and brought to the UK. The child was poorly and it was important that he attended hospital.

‘We knew they were in the UK but we had no other leads on the case at all,’ says Ms Carter. The organisation turned to the TV for help and after a couple of broadcasts the child was found.

But each case is unique and in some abduction cases seeking publicity is the worst thing you can do.

‘Sometimes you have to be quiet and lull the errant parent into a false sense of security.’



worried about abduction?

Reunite runs an advice line and publishes information packs about preventing abduction and how to proceed if the worst has happened.

The charity has this advice for parents who suspect their former partner will attempt to abduct their child.

  • Seek immediate advice from a family lawyer. You may need to get a court order – like a residence order under the Children Act 1989, which determines which parent will primarily look after a child and should also to stop your child being taken out of the country without your prior permission.
  • Write to the UK Passport Service and ask them not to grant your child a passport without your permission (this is only possible where you have got an order from the court in certain circumstances). But the Passport Office has no power to ask for a passport to be surrendered if it has already been issued.
  • Contact the police. If they are convinced there is a real threat they can issue a ‘port alert’ to alert possible points of departure in the UK. How effective a port alert will be depends a lot on how much information you can supply them with – make sure that you have available a recent photo of your child and the other parent which can be circulated and if you have details of which port – airport or sea port for example – your child is likely to travel through, that will help the police focus their efforts.
  • Get a child abduction prevention pack from Reunite

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Steps To Take Before Your Child Leaves Canada

By:International Rights of Children Society

The following recommendations are based on personal experience and advice given to members of IROCS. We are not lawyers. If you are worried that your child is in danger of being abducted overseas it is essential that you seek legal advice immediately.

If your children leave Canada, neither Canadian law nor international agreements can guarantee their return. However, refusing to allow your children to travel outside of Canada could deny them important opportunities to build relationships with their extended family and gain knowledge of their heritage. Consequently, parents may find themselves in a position where they are sending their children to another country with someone they suspect may not intend to return to Canada. The age of your children is an important factor that you should consider before providing your consent for them to travel abroad. As infants, they are at the mercy of their surroundings.

Before your children leave on a trip to a country which is not signatory the Hague Convention on the Civil aspects of International Child Abduction or has a history of non-compliance with the provisions of that convention ensure that there is a court order or notarized letter specifying the exact destination, the purpose of the trip, and the departure and return dates. Without a specific return date confirming the intent of the trip, a criminal investigation might conclude that no criminal charges of parental child abduction can be laid in Canada. The Government of Canada has produced an example of a consent letter www.voyage.gc.ca/main/before/consent_letter-en.asp

You might also wish to consider having the taking-parent undertake the necessary legal steps to have the Canadian Court Order recognised in the jurisdiction of the destination country. The local law enforcement will only assist if there is a local court order directing them to do so.

In addition, write up a separate agreement stating that the left-behind parent is authorized to bring the children back to Canada should they overstay the return date specified in the court order governing the trip. The document should also grant the left-behind parent power to obtain emergency travel documents without the signature of the other parent. Otherwise, the abducting parent could block the children’s return to Canada by refusing to turn over the children’s passport. Have the document signed by both parents, notarized, translated into the language of the destination country and authenticated by the embassy of the destination country prior to the children’s departure. Remember this agreement is to be kept by the left-behind parent.

As an added suggestion, there is nothing preventing you from entering into a private agreement with the taking-parent outlining consequences of non compliance of the initial agreement outlining the parameters of the international trip. In some cases, IROCS has seen a bond or the deed of the home, vehicle, etc. of the taking-parent as a “guarantee” of compliance with the initial agreement. This private agreement can be brokered by your respective legal representatives.

If you have the financial means, you may wish to consider travelling to the destination country and escorting your children back to Canada at the agreed upon date. Should the taking-parent not comply with the initial agreement, you will have in hand the Canadian Court Order already recognised in the local jurisdiction and the notarised letter giving you the taking-parent’s consent to return to Canada with the children.

There are no guarantees in any of this. Even if you took all of the above precautions you could still find yourself entangled in a protracted legal battle in a foreign jurisdiction while your children were being denied access to you and their home and family in Canada. Consequently, before they leave, you might wish to teach your children how to make an international collect call and instruct them to retain their travel documents and return tickets if at all possible. Ensure they have an email address and know yours, know their home phone number and address, and know how to contact and, if possible, travel to the nearest Canadian consulate or embassy. Note: this advices can also be used of citizens of other countries.) ABP World Group Ltd.

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

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