1. A German-Greek marriage has failed and the father takes the two children to his home country, Greece, against the mother’s will.
2. A mother and her children residing with the children’s father in Tunisia spend their holidays in Germany. The mother decides that they will not return to Tunisia.
Numerous cases such as the ones described above happen in all parts of the world. If a child is taken by one parent to another country against the will of the other parent, this is very traumatic - for the parent who stays behind and loses their child; for the abducting parent, who is extremely under pressure; and above all, for the children who are torn from their familiar environment and lose the persons to whom they relate most closely.
After a separation, now as before, it happens very often that a parent – especially the one who is the child’s main carer – takes it as a matter of course to return to his or her country of origin together with the children. The reasons for child abduction are manifold: a different cultural understanding of where a child should live, the fear of losing the custody dispute, or inability to differentiate between the couple level and the parent level – these are just some of them.
What parents don’t always know: By doing so, they violate the right of their children to personal contact with both parents, as laid down in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and in the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. What can be done to prevent the abduction of a child? What can be done to alleviate the fear of child abduction? What has to be done when a child is abducted and afterwards? Those are the questions that lawyers, social workers and the persons concerned are faced with.
ISS German Branch
- offers counselling to all persons concerned on what can be done in case of separation in order to protect the right of the child to personal contact with both parents,
- tries to give advice on how to possibly prevent an abduction or to alleviate the fear of abduction,
- provides information to social workers or child and youth care workers, family courts and to the persons concerned about the possibilities available in case of abduction,
- endeavours to take up contact with the abducting parent and to work towards an amicable agreement in the interest of the child.