More support for parents left behind by international child abduction
26 March 2012
Australian parents dealing with the abduction of their child from Australia can access free legal assistance via a new national service which opened today.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said that the service will provide practical support to parents in distressing circumstances.
“We want to make it as straightforward as possible for parents to get the assistance they need when dealing with the abduction of their children from Australia,” Ms Roxon said.
“The Hague Convention on international child abduction, to which Australia is a signatory, provides a strong mechanism for lawfully seeking the return of abducted children to Australia.
“However, accessing information about the Convention and knowing how to apply to meet its requirements can be daunting for many parents during one of the most stressful and difficult times of their lives.”
The new legal assistance service will complement the counselling and mediation service already provided by International Social Services (ISS) Australia and funded by the Attorney-General’s Department.
The Government’s new funding agreement with ISS will provide a national service to help parents prepare and lodge applications from Australia for the return of, or access to, children under the Convention, and will also address key recommendations from the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee report into international child abduction to and from Australia, tabled on 31 October 2011.
“This service will now provide a one stop shop offering legal and counselling assistance for Australian families affected by the abduction of their child from Australia,” Ms Roxon said.
“With the assistance of International Social Services, Australian parents will be able to apply directly to the Attorney-General’s Department, as the Australian Central Authority – and the national contact – for the Hague Convention.”
ISS can be contacted Toll free on 1300 657 843 or through their website www.iss.org.au.
Further information about the Hague Convention is available on the Attorney-General’s Department website www.ag.gov.au/childabduction.
The Australian Central Authority can be contacted on 1800 100 480 or via email CentralAuthority@ag.gov.au.
Media contact: Attorney-General’s Office – 02 6277 7300