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Taken without consent

Taken without consent

By Nadine Udorovic & Loren Gulliver

The issue of international child abduction by a parent has recently received much media attention in Australia as a result of an incident in Lebanon in 2016. Australian mother, Sally Faulkner, with the help of a 60 Minutes television crew, failed in an attempt to recover her children from Lebanon after the father Ali Elamaine retained the children without Ms Faulkner’s consent. This situation is not an isolated event in Australia and it is estimated by the Australian Central Authority that each week two to three children are illegally removed from Australia by one of their parents without the other’s consent. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is the main legal process available to parents in these circumstances and provides measures for the prompt return of a child to their home country where the child has been wrongfully removed or retained in one Convention country from another. Australia ratified the Hague Convention on 29 October 1986 and incorporated it into Australian law on 1 January 1987 by the Family Law (Child Abduction Convention) Regulations 1986 (Cth) (the Regulations). There are currently 95 member states contracting to the Hague Convention. Under the Hague Convention, contracting states are required to establish administrative bodies called Central Authorities. A parent whose child has been wrongfully removed from their place of habitual residence, or retained in a country other than their place of habitual residence, can apply to the Central Authority of the child’s habitual residence or the Central Authority of any other contracting state, for assistance in securing the return of the child.

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