Treaty created to stop child abductions could now be protecting abusers

NOTE: This article was named one of the 25 best independent investigations, according to the US Censored Project 2022, due to its global scope overlooked by mainstream media.

The 1980 Hague Convention was created to protect children from abductions, but abusers can sometimes use it to regain custody of the children and regain power over their victims.

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July 20, 2020, by Misha Valencia, for WhoWhatWhy

An international treaty initially created in 1980 to protect children from being abducted has now become a mechanism for abusers to manipulate the courts and gain access to their children, according to Joan Meier, a domestic violence expert and attorney for a mother who says she was forced to return her child to her abuser.

The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a treaty with 101 participating countries designed to deter international abductions, often by a non-custodial parent, and requires that a child wrongfully taken from their country be returned.

The United Nations 2019 Global Study on Homicide reports that over half of all murdered women are killed by an intimate partner or family member, but when a domestic violence victim escapes with her children — many times in a life or death situation — she’s often labelled a child “abductor” by the courts. Her batterer can use the Hague Convention to force the children back to the abuser’s country, experts on the Hague Convention and domestic violence claim.

In the report, Learning From the Links Between Domestic Violence and International Child Abduction, researchers from the International Social Service report that they have seen a noticeable shift in patterns of child abductions. In the 1970s, it was often fathers abducting or retaining their children from overseas, but now, 50 years later, it is mothers who most often leave with the children to flee violent relationships and provide a safer environment for their family.

In the 2019 report, Discounting Women: Doubting Domestic Violence Survivors’ Credibility and Dismissing Their Experiences, published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, researchers found that: “In the justice system women face a legal twilight zone: Laws meant to protect them and deter further abuse often fail to achieve their purpose,” and when women report abuse by their male partners, “they are simply not believed.”

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