The Government’s missing persons website is run by the Australian Federal Police. According to the website, “There are serious emotional consequences for the abducted child taken from all that is familiar, most usually to the parent’s country of origin. As the child is already dealing with the breakdown of the family unit, this additional trauma can cause emotional problems which if not treated in an ongoing way, can have lasting consequences.
They go on to say,“The left behind parent also suffers considerable grief, anger and guilt which will affect ongoing relationships with other children as well as children who have been abducted. The abducting parent is also usually in need of therapeutic help.”
The incidence of international child abductions is greater than official figures reveal.
Some of the warning signs of impending abduction include:
- The other parent is planning a trip away from Australia with your child;
- Your ex-spouse is coming from overseas to Australia and you are worried they plan to abduct your child;
- Your ex-spouse wants you to co-sign your child’s Australian passport without good reason;
- Your child is a citizen of a country which allows one parent alone to apply for the child’s passport and you have a fear of child abduction;
- The other parent has a home, a family or other connections overseas and you are concerned that there is no reason for them to stay in Australia;
- The other parent has no substantial property or employment in Australia, and nothing keeping them here.
In addition, you should obtain urgent legal advice if:
- The other parent has already left Australia with your child;
- You are not sure if they plan to return or if you believe they will not return;
- There is a link to overseas family or property;
- There is no other significant link to Australia.
If any of the above applies to you, you should make an urgent appointment to see a family lawyer for further advice specific to your situation.
How to search for an abducted child
What steps can you take if you want to know the location of a child who you believe has been abducted? Under the Family Law Act, certain people can apply for a location order in relation to a child. A location order is an order made by a court that requires a person to provide information about a child’s location to the court.
The following people can apply for a location order:
- a person who a child is to live with in accordance with a parenting order;
- a person who a child is to spend time with in accordance with a parenting order;
- a person who a child is to communicate with under a parenting order;
- a person who has parental responsibility for a child under a parenting order;
- a grandparent of a child;
- any other person concerned with the care, welfare or development of a child;
- For the purposes of the Child Protection Convention, a person (including the Commonwealth Central Authority) may apply to a court for a location order.
If you suspect a child is about to be abducted and taken out of the country you need to act quickly. Call us and talk to a specialist family lawyer today.