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4 sisters returned to Italian father after their Australian Mum took them to Australia.....dragged kicking and screaming onto the plane.

(810 Posts)
AmberLeaf Fri 05-Oct-12 00:59:59

Apparently the girls aged between 9-15 are dual citizens.

Link sorry its the DM.

Do they not take the childs view into account in Australia?

domesticgodless Fri 05-Oct-12 13:07:37

trying, it doesn't actually. The presumption is that children should be returned to the country of original residence, however there is a checklist of factors to take into account including the length of time the children have been in the country, their wishes and feelings etc.

The global father's rights movement and heavily publicised cases such as that of the teenage girl who left Stornaway to live with her Muslim father (not an outcome the tabloids and DM liked, that one) have begun to change all that.

I think that the saddest thing about the father's rights movements is, indeed, that it is all about rights and not the children's welfare at all. The misery inflicted on children in the name of father's rights is increasing and in the end a lot of these fathers just end up alienating their children more, particularly if they are of the age these girls are, in the name of 'enjoying their rights' over them.

Bonsoir Fri 05-Oct-12 13:10:10

Yes, and there is something distressingly patriarchal about the situation where a mother living in the father's country needs to leave that country in order to support herself but is not allowed to take her children with her.

LittleBairn Fri 05-Oct-12 13:11:21

I was really horrified seeing those videos last night, for one thing the way the children were handled by the Austrailian authorities was a disgrace dragging the children holding onto their arms and hurting them.
These are children who have committed no crime, why on earth should they be treated like this? The older two in particular should have had a say in what happens to them.
It did make me wonder of Austrialian police ( I know they weren't police) and such like often brutalise children?

I did a bit of reading on Austrailian articals and one stated that the Austrailian embassy in Italy helped them return to Austrialia because of fears over the father being abusive hence why the family probably didn't think they were in the legal wrong and the huge convention could be used against them.

tryingtoleave Fri 05-Oct-12 13:12:16

Yes, you are right about the fathers movement, domesticgodess. In the intervening period there has been a move to a presumption of shared care here, even for very young children.

LittleBairn Fri 05-Oct-12 13:17:22

Sorry Hauge convention.

domesticgodless Fri 05-Oct-12 13:18:59

Yeah trying I teach family law here in UK and have been reading all about that. I have heard that the situation has become a bit of a nightmare with fathers pursuing their 'rights' to 50:50 regardless of whether children are breastfeeding, where they go to school, etc. and the courts have also been swamped with disputes over it all.

Yes LittleBairn all too frequently women escaping abuse and returning to what is the safest place to them (their original home country) are ordered back. Even when abuse has been proven. Even in one case where the father has a record of convictions for violence.

I really, really feel that fathers' rights have gone out of control. I genuinely sympathise with fathers who want more contact, I'd like more time with my own children myself, rather than having them sit with a nanny 4 nights a week so my ex can feel that the residence arrangement is 'fair'. My poor eldest said to me 'it's weird that we live with dad half the week when we never see him, we only spend time with the nanny'. My own experience is not universal of course but is part of the reason I'm very very suspicious of fathers who use the law to get access against the wishes of their ex. And the more case law you read the more you stop getting the impression of most mothers as 'contact blockers' depriving righteous men of their 'rights'. It's usually a great deal more complex than that.

What we need in the Hague convention is a genuine welfare principle as thankfully we still have here in s1(1) Children Act. Parents should not exercise 'rights' which trample all over the welfare of their kids.

tryingtoleave Fri 05-Oct-12 13:28:49

Ds's best friend at preschool used to spend half the week with his mother and half with his father (where he was mostly cared for by his gps, I think). There are some advantages - it keeps the father involved, gives the mother a break. And also gender roles are changing. If 80% of mothers are back at work when the children are 1 and domestic/caring duties are shared, then shared care makes sense.

Otoh, I think children need a proper home and it is awful for very young children. It would certainly make me think twice, or several times, before getting divorced.

domesticgodless Fri 05-Oct-12 13:36:28

yeah trying. My ex skips out of having to be too involved because he has childcare from 8-7 30 pm or later. I don't think that should be legal, but heck I'm sure the fathers' rights brigade will be along to correct me soon!!!

My kids are used to it now and like spending time in their house (he got the house when we divorced, mine is smaller etc). But they are complaining a lot about being stuck with the nanny every night there. I think when they are older they may vote with their feet and come to see the parent who's actually there. But who knows- my eldest adores his dad and doesn't want to upset him. And I think he knows that primarily this arrangement is about pleasing his dad, not him. Who knows if that will last into his teens though :D

I was also at work but lost my job as I wasn't allowed week custody. The only other job I could get was a 90 min commute away- so in the end I need childcare too for 3 days per week but that's still less than he does! I offered ex every weekend but no go. Only 50/50 was 'fair'-- even though he isn't there for most of it.

NicknameTaken Fri 05-Oct-12 13:38:26

I think it would be terrible precedent to grant success to the strategy of abducting a child, taking them to a distant country and poisoning them against the other parent (assuming that's what happened; obviously I don't know all the facts).

It seems like the mother is totally whipping up her daughters' distress. I'm not impressed by her conduct at all.

As someone with a non-national ex, I am deeply grateful for the Hague Convention. It could have worked against me if we settled in his country (instead of the UK, which is not the original home of either of us). But overall, I think the presumption of children continuing to reside in their country of ordinary residence is a good one.

LtEveDallas Fri 05-Oct-12 13:39:27

To a 14 year old, a 9 year old who didn't want to leave mum - what do they care? They just know that the system, the police, their father has forced them to do something they didn't want to do.

They don't care who is in the right. They don't care about anything but the fact that they want to be with their mum and their father has destroyed that - whether that is true or not, that is how they will see it. How can they be expected to have a relationship with their father with that hanging over their heads?

There is money from the father for the mother so she can follow them home. She is, so far, refusing to do so Where does it say that?

The great aunt said the girls' father had turned his village against the mother

Sounds pretty horrible and very likely to me. We don't know where in Italy the father is from. Having spent some time travelling there I can see how this would happen - some of the villages are extremely insular, and horribly backwards to western standards (think women being possessions of men, grandmothers/mothers running the families and DILs being expected to wait on their MILs hand and foot). Remember abuse doesn't have to mean physical beatings etc and the law courts are full of older, more 'traditional' men. If it is one of those type of villages that the girls are going to they are going to be treated as second class citizens from the word go.

LineRunner Fri 05-Oct-12 13:40:08

So does the Human Rights Act (the girls' human rights) not trump the Hague Convention?

I appreciate what you say about the Australian police routinely being armed, differentname, but there must surely be provision for police officers not to carry guns when, for example, interviewing child victims or dealing with distresssed children. Well, I'd hope so.

LittleBairn Fri 05-Oct-12 13:40:20

trying I can see the rights of the father in cases where care has been 50/50 but often in cases where a mother is living in her husbands native country she is often at home full time with the child and does all child care. The parents role in their children's lives under those circumstance aren't equal and shouldn't IMO be treated equally.

Bonsoir Fri 05-Oct-12 13:44:01

It's so hard for the law to take account of the intricacies of every family. My DP was in the opposite situation - the DSSs were at home with the nanny (paid by him) when at their mother's home. Their mother was desperate for them to be resident "with her" in order to obtain more money on divorce.

domesticgodless Fri 05-Oct-12 13:44:07

yes agree Little.

If fathers are primary carers I think that they should be treated as such too. The fact is they usually aren't. And true 50/50 shared care of children before a split is unusual too. Fathers do not take leave to the extent mothers do and they tend to prioritise work; this is often no 'fault' of theirs but happens for economic reasons. However, for the legal system to fail to recognise this leads to brutal consequences like this.

I also fear even more for these girls now having read more of the details, and understand more clearly why the mother fled. Villages in Italy are rarely openminded places.

pumpkinsweetie Fri 05-Oct-12 13:45:28

I found the footage very disturbingsad
2 young girls dragged away from their mother like that, they clearly didn't want to leave.
Infact they sounded almost scaremd at the prospect of being with their father.
The way they were manhandled like wild animals was absolutely horrific.
I believe they are at an age when they can choose which parent, and how often or how little they want to be with each one!
Dual nationality, surely they should be entitled to stay where they are

domesticgodless Fri 05-Oct-12 13:46:19

urgh Bonsoir that's grim too on her part. But did he have another solution? Eg was he not using childcare? That would be very unusual for a working man.

In my situation I'm now trapped as have to work a long way from London and he can use that against me. However I'm around a lot of evenings when the kids are stuck with his nanny and I suspect they'll vote with feet later on, the eldest is already saying he'd like to. With no prompting from me and I won't encourage it as that would lead to accusations from ex of 'poisoning' him. If anything I think ex will emotionally blackmail them into waiting at home for him.

Bonsoir Fri 05-Oct-12 13:49:39

We don't need childcare in our family as I am at home for DD.

Anyway, her construction all fell apart (under French law)!

domesticgodless Fri 05-Oct-12 13:52:27

ah ok Bonsoir. She probably couldn't take the idea, too, of 'her' kids being with you!

If my ex had a nice partner who the kids liked I'd be delighted for them to be with her. Really! Even a nice nanny would do. But the kids can't stand her, complain constantly about her, he won't get a new one, and she's putting them to bed at least 2 nights a week. To me that's just not on.

oohlaalaa Fri 05-Oct-12 13:53:26

Whilst the pictures are upsetting, she should never have taken the girls to Australia without the father's consent.

The mother could move to Italy with the girls.

tryingtoleave Fri 05-Oct-12 13:53:26

What human right do you mean, line runner? Not that I'm defending this, just I'm not sure what right children have to choose where they livd. And an international convention doesn't become part of Australian law just because it has been signed, either.

NicknameTaken Fri 05-Oct-12 13:53:58

So does the Human Rights Act (the girls' human rights) not trump the Hague Convention?

The Human Rights Act is UK legislation, so has nothing to do with an Italian/Australian case.

In the UK, people have tried to challenge deportations using the Human Rights Act, as the right to privacy includes the right to family life. The answer is often - "Nothing is stopping you having a family life, we're just saying you can't have it here. You're free to go and have your family life in the other country".

NicknameTaken Fri 05-Oct-12 13:54:49

Sorry, should say that my last para is nothing to do with the Hague Convention or child residence cases. I'm thinking failed asylum applications and that kind of thing.

tryingtoleave Fri 05-Oct-12 13:56:28

Oh, that makes sense. I presumed linerunner was talking about international human rights.

LtEveDallas Fri 05-Oct-12 13:58:35

The mother could move to Italy with the girls

The mother has no money. She is a student. I doubt she could afford the flight, let alone be able to rent/buy a place to live.

And if the village is in the sticks (as it sounds - but I dont know) then she won't get a job either.

The more I read about this, the more I think about this, the more horrible it seems. Those poor girls sad

domesticgodless Fri 05-Oct-12 13:59:07

There is the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child etc. Child welfare is a matter for national law and it is a significant problem that the Hague Convention does not have it as an overriding principle.

Interesting point about Article 8 rights to private and family life. Per se, children have these but it is relatively easy to trump them stating that there is a clash (with the fathers' rights here).

I remain amazed at those who expect the mother simply to return to an Italian village, presumably to live right next to an ex spouse who loathes her, and get work doing...what???

At any rate, this is not about her rights or the father's either in the end. The children's welfare is clearly not served by dragging them off to a country they don't want to live in. Full stop. Regardless of father being deprived of 'rights'.

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