Australia has the highest rate of children being kidnapped by a parent in the world (per capita) with the majority of the abductions being from Queensland.
Getting a divorce is a difficult time for anyone; it’s made all the more difficult when children are part of that equation. So much change in someone’s life that is mostly negative can have adverse effects on their behaviour. The uncertainty and helplessness can cause some parents to make irrational decisions out of desperation.
In 2013, Australia reported 520 recovery orders which were issued with the assumption that a parent was responsible for the abduction. The worrying statistic to stem from these reports is that over a third of these recovery orders were issued in Queensland. DA Family Lawyers Brisbane has dealt in many similar cases including cases where the child has been abducted outside of Australia.
Why do parents resort to abduction?
In the event of a divorce, the power and control either spouse once exercised has now been literally cut in half. In an attempt to gain back some control, abduction of their children may seem like the only scenario that could ‘fix’ their insecurities. Other times, parents do it as a form of revenge.
The mental stability of the abducting parent is usually in a state of deterioration. In many cases, the parent can be so concerned with the way they feel that they may not even consider their child to be a separate entity from themselves. They can believe that because they hate the other parent, the child must do the same.
How does it affect the child?
Child abduction is a form of child abuse and domestic violence. The effect of being away from their comfortable surroundings can be irreparably damaging to a minor’s development. Being on the run, living under a false identity, dying their hair against their will and other steps often taken in these situations can be a very traumatic experience for any child.
Psychological problems in children are more likely to occur if they have been mistreated through way of abduction. Problems that result from this abuse may appear in a number of different ways:
- Depression and anger
- Feeling constantly panicked or fearful
- Unable to socialise and lack of identity
This is especially true when a child is forced to leave their country, fit into a completely different culture, learn a new language and be expected to forget about the other parent. The illegal removal of a child from Australia is known as international child abduction. These types of scenarios, depending on the country, fall under the Hague Convention which is a multilateral treaty between countries that have signed the convention for the retrieval of the abducted child.
The facts and the figures
There are some noticeable statistics that differ between when mum vs dad abducts the child. A mother is more likely to abduct their child after a court order is made whereas men are more likely to abduct before a court order is made. Given this information, a mother is more likely to keep their child longer than the father would.
There is no noticeable skew in the sex of children that are abducted with the most common ages ranging between three and seven years old. More in-depth statistics reveal that the majority of abductions are resolved within one week.
Many parents who abduct their children have a criminal record, 46% in fact. The majority of abductors have either displayed bouts of violence, drug use or emotional instability. If you are fearful about your ex-partner abducting your child or children, it’s important you contact DA Family Lawyers Brisbane to ensure your children are protected.