Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Trying to stop international child abduction from Australia

According to a report in Brisbane's Sunday Mail on Sunday, almost 10,000 Aussie kids are the subject of the Australian Federal Police family law watchlist. The watchlist prevents the children from leaving Australia, subject of course to any further court order. It is designed to prevent the international abduction of children from Australia.

As a family lawyer who has had clients trying to prevent the abduction of children from Australia, my view is that the watchlist - while a vital tool to prevent international child abduction- is not the be all and end all to prevent the abduction of children from Australia. An holistic, comprehensive approach is required. Taking a series of steps to prevent abduction should greatly reduce the chances of it occurring.

The report goes on to say that sadly there were 80 applications lodged in the last financial year for 143 children abducted from Australia, seeking their return to Australia under the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention. Of those, 66 came home.

Of course, children can be abducted to non-Hague countries, and as a result may not be returned home. The best example is the children of Jacqueline Gillespie, smuggled out of Australia by boat by their father, a Malaysian prince. They did not return to Australia during their childhoods. The father got away with his actions.

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