A CHILD is buckled into a seat before the plane engine roars and they are soon soaring through the clouds, away from the only home and family they have ever known.
But this is not a return trip.
The child’s parent who has carefully packed their bags and led them onto the plane doesn’t plan on bringing them back or giving access to the other parent ever again. The odds they’ll get away with it are good.
This is the story of some 250-300 Australian children who are at the centre of international parental child disputes every year.
Once an Australian child is on foreign soil, there’s not much anyone can do under current Australian laws to bring them home unless the country is a signatory to The Hague Convention — which many are not.
International parental child abduction is not a criminal offence in Australia, with the exception of cases where a family court order restricting travel is already in place.
That means one parent can simply book a flight for their child to another non-signatory country under the guise of a holiday or similar and never return to Australia, with no legal repercussions.
A government recovery mission will not be declared, a search party will not be launched and charges will not be laid against the person who took the child in the first place.
By Megan Palin
By news.com.auBack to News
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