On behalf of my I CARE Foundation colleagues and the families around the world we have assisted, I would personally like to acknowledge all individuals who have worked to protect children from abduction. I would also like to acknowledge the remarkable efforts and leadership in the area of governmental advocacy displayed by the United States Department of State's Office of Childrens Issues, who, over the past three years in particular have made great strides in protecting American children from abduction. There is a reason why American children are being protected, and it begins with the Office of Childrens Issues.
EXTREME DIFFICULTIES IN RECOVERING AN ABDUCTED CHILD
- Amongst signatory countries to the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention, litigation proceedings and tactics by the Taking Parent and their counsel often deploy techniques to circumvent Article 1 (Expeditious Return Provision), while over-utilizing Article 13 b (Best Interest Provision). This is not a U.S. problem but a global issue all left-behind parents face. In addition, courts and the judiciary overseeing IPCA proceedings have taken a rather long-arm approach to Article 12 of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention. The end result, as reported by a 2011 Hague Special Commission is that the average litigation period needed to make a determination has increased to 338 days as compared to 188 days; and,
- The reality is that attorneys familiar with Hague law often litigate before untrained judges who are not keenly aware of the spirit and intent of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention. Trained attorney-specialist familiar with the protocols of the child abduction treaty have successfully implemented litigation techniques created to extend or delay the court proceedings outside of the spirit of Article 1 of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention. In implementing calculated strategies before judges not familiar with the treaty or who may not intend to follow the rules established under the treaty, Taking Parents have been remarkably successful in being able to not only remain in the inbound country they have relocated to, but in many circumstances, limit the rights of the child to have contact with the other parent. This phenomenon appears to occur equally amongst men and women; and,
- Judges are often not trained on how to deal with IPCA cases nor are they familiar with the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention. Because of a lack of training and education amongst the judiciary, many children around the world simply are not returned and the intent of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention is being marginalized. As an example of the problems best exemplified by an untrained judiciary, the United States has over 10,000 family court judges able to hear an IPCA case. The vast majority of these judges have no or extremely limited experience dealing with Hague matters. The average litigation period for cases being heard in the United States is 338 days. In comparison, in the United Kingdom there are 17 judges who handle Hague cases. The average litigation period for cases heard in the United Kingdom has been reported at 49 days; and,
- Many nations do not comply with or uphold the spirit of the convention (ex, Brazil, Mexico, Germany); and,
- Many countries have not signed the convention (China, India, Saudi Arabia etc); and,
- Chasing Parents may not have an idea what country their child was taken to; and,
- Chasing Parents are responsible to carry the enormous financial burden associated with their child’s recovery. Many simply do not have the substantial resources needed; and,
- Many Chasing Parents do not have the knowledge necessary to navigate the difficult and complex legal system of international law, nor do they often know who to turn to and what to do; and,
- Nationalistic prejudices of court systems located in the ‘inbound’ country, whereas, a court may try to protect the abducting parent if that parent is a citizen of the country where they abducted the child to.
- There is an increased social awareness of IPCA, including awareness of warning signs and how to act in the event of a potential threat; and,
- Targeted parents at risk of having a child abducted have become more proactive in protecting their children; and,
- The Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues has become an exemplary child abduction prevention advocacy program under the guidelines available to all Central Authorities under the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention. Increased personal, extensive information via the Internet, and public outreach along with the ability to implement and take control of an assortment of abduction prevention programs such as the Passport Issuance Alert Program have been extremely beneficial.
- Inter-agency cooperation amongst the Department of State and other agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security have been extremely impactful. An example of this type of cooperation is found in the Prevent Departure Program.
- There is a strong core of NGO activism that has helped raise awareness of IPCA and provided outreach that government agencies are unable to.
- Courts and judges presiding over abduction prevention cases are acting with increased prudence when determining whether a child is a target of IPCA, including determining if a child should be allowed to travel, an assortment of passport-related issues, etc.; and,
- The I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form has become a globally effective tool in preventing a child’s wrongful detention abroad while also protecting against the wrongful use of Article 12 and Article 13 b; and,
- There is increased cooperation amongst law enforcement to assist targeted parents of abduction; and,
- United States lawmakers and policy administrators are taking a proactive stance against IPCA and this stand is having a trickle down effect amongst other stakeholders including judges, law enforcement, and child therapist, etc.
- The social media blogosphere of parent-bloggers has increased awareness of IPCA.
In June, 2013 the United States Department of Justice issued a report stating that children who are victims of parental child abduction face increased abuse, including severe physical and emotional abuse at the hands of their parent abductor.
We strongly point that filicide - parental child murder - is a real threat to all children of abduction.
The I CARE Foundation agrees completely with the sentiments shared above.
REASONS WHY ONE PARENT CRIMINALLY ABDUCTS A CHILD
IMMIGRATION MIGRATION AND ITS AFFECT ON CHILD ABDUCTION CASES