60 Minutes crew & Sally Faulkner
caught in another fraught international ‘child abduction case’
There are several of these difficult ‘child abduction’, ‘child re-abduction’ cases involving Australians every year, most recently made public:
- Sally Faulkner (& 60 Minutes) attempting to recover her daughters from their father in Lebanon in April, 2016
- Eliza Szonert seeking to recover her son from his father in Malaysia in December, 2015
- Patricia Nunez’s ex-partner has had their two sons in Taiwan since 2014
- Kennedy Kembo’s daughter has been in Indonesia with her mother since 2010
- Paul Brown’s ex-partner has their child in Japan since 2005
‘Child abduction’ or ‘child re-abduction’, (depending on whose point of view is considered), situations usually occur when:
- an Australian child is taken overseas to a country which is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (‘Hague Convention’), (which means the Hague Convention that provides a legal procedure for an Australian parent to request the return of the child to Australia (and it gives assistance to parents to spend time /get access or contact with children overseas) is not available to the Australian parent).
- the parent who lives in the non-Hague Convention country retains/withholds the child from the Australian parent.
- the Australian parent does not abide by local laws (which they may perceive to be unfair, inaccessible (or for some other reason, they wish to try to avoid)) in the non-Hague country to seek the return of the child/ren to Australia and instead they take matters in to their own hands, sometimes employing third parties to ‘recover’ the child/ren.
The Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department in February, 2011 issued a summary of the number of children wrongfully removed or retained:
|Year||From Australia||To Australia|
(Attorney-General’s Department, International Parental Child Abduction Statistics <http://www.ag.gov.au/childabduction> at 16 February 2011)
Even though Lebanon is not a Hague country, Australia does have a bilateral agreement on international parental child abduction with Lebanon (Australia-Lebanon Agreement) which was available to Sally Faulkner for assistance: https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Families/InternationalFamilyLaw/Documents/Australia-Lebanon-Agreement-Information-for-parents.pdf
If your child has been abducted from Australia overseas you require urgent legal advice. Partners in Family Law are experienced in advising parents about national and international child abduction.
There is also an excellent Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department fact sheet setting out the steps that need to be taken if your child has been taken to a Hague Convention country: