Parental Child Abduction: The Long Term Effects

One (male) interviewee, abducted by his mother at 11 years of age, set out after 20 years to find his left behind father who, he had been told, was violent. He described how emotional he felt when he walked into his father’s home and the first thing he saw after so many years was a photograph of himself with the rest of the family before the abduction. His father had kept this in pride of place in the home. He remains in contact with his father and left-behind siblings, but is no longer in contact with his abductor mother.

That is what child abduction does. However no parent who has suffered the destructive loss of a child in this way would wish to inflict that loss on any other parent it is not a situation that I would want to see arise.

I have not told many people that my son is a victim of international parental child abduction as I am ashamed not to have my son standing by my side. One person I did tell, and one of the first, remarked without any hesitation at all that, once the wheel had turned full circle, my son would blame his mother. I hope he doesn’t because his mother, despite her egregious selfishness, is and should remain a buttress to my son. I fear however the person who said this will be proved right, although possibly not in their lifetime or possibly even mine.

The opening quotation is drawn from a seminal report entitled Parental Child Abduction: The Long Term Effects published in December 2014. It was written by Professor Marilyn Freeman, a London academic, and Baroness Hale, the Supreme Court Justice with a background as an academic in family law, provided the foreword. In her foreword, Baroness Hale writes:

…parental abduction needs to be seen for what it is – a serious matter which can have serious long term consequences for the child and not just one of those unfortunate things which happens in families.

That must be right and is borne out by much of the rest of the report much of which is profoundly concerning and at times frankly shocking. The report is available to view at: http://www.famlawandpractice.com/researchers/longtermeffects.pdf.

The post is dedicated to my beloved son whom I last saw in London four years ago today.

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