At least 150 children are abducted from Australia by a parent each year.
Some are never found.
Now, the Coalition of Parents of Abducted Children (COPAC) is supporting a campaign led by the Family Law Reform Association (FLRA) for the introduction of new laws to protect children from being abducted from Australia.
In many developed countries, International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA) is a crime, but not in Australia.
The FLRA is calling on the Australian Government to criminalise this shocking crime. They are seeking an urgent meeting with the Federal Attorney-General to have the proposed law introduced as quickly as possible.
NSW Fire Brigade Deputy Commissioner, Ken Thompson, whose 5-year-old-son, Andrew, was abducted in 2008 said, “Australia has the highest per capita rate of IPCA in the world. This highlights the need for new laws. It’s far too easy for a parent to abduct a child”.
Mr Thompson says, “IPCA is an extreme form of child abuse. These parents are emotionally unstable, or have simply decided they want to live in another country, or they refuse to work through the normal legal processes. It’s the ultimate act of selfishness”.
His son is still missing.
Canberra businessman Frederick Mack spent seven years and $500,000 before returning with his abducted son from Germany. “If someone flees Australia after committing a crime involving money the legal system swings into action, yet when a child is abducted there are no laws in place. This has to change!” he said.
Melbourne man George Pessor’s two boys were illegally retained in Sweden while visiting their mother. He found them and brought them home, but the search left him bankrupt. He said, “It’s every parent’s nightmare to not know where your child is and not knowing if your child will see you again. Laws should protect children, ours protect their kidnappers!”
Sydney author and businesswoman Margaret Wilcox searched for her daughter for 14 years. She said, “The abduction of a child by a parent is a terrible crime against the child’s human rights. Australia needs to create and adopt laws that reflect the seriousness of parental child abduction”.
Australian true crime author Robin Bowles also supports the proposal. Her grandson was abducted to France in 1999 and was not returned.
COPAC wants the Federal Attorney-General to work with the Family Law Reform Association to make Australia safer for children.