Monday, September 19, 2011
From the Sydney Morning Herald:
TOUGH laws to stop parents abducting and taking their children overseas are being considered by the federal government.
The Family Law Council has told the Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, new criminal charges need to be created to punish parents.
''The [existing] legislation does not cover the situation where a parent takes a child overseas with the other parent's consent or in accordance with a court order, but subsequently retains the child overseas beyond the agreed or authorised period,'' said the council chairwoman, Associate Professor Helen Rhoades.
It also ''does not cover the situation where children are taken overseas without the other parent's consent and no parenting orders have been sought from, or granted by, the courts. The question that arises is whether a parent's behaviour in either or both of these circumstances should be criminalised.''
About 125 children are taken out of Australia each year, says the Attorney-General's Department. In 2007, 147 were abducted overseas and in 2008 it was 138.The number fell to 95 in 2009 but rose to 125 last year. Under the Family Law Act, international parental child abduction carries a maximum three-year jail sentence.
Read more here.