Thank you for the hundreds of messages of support for our 'Going Home Together Campaign 2015'. Here they are ...
I agreed to emigrate as long as we'd return if I didn't like it after two years.... I supported my husband's dreams, but when I didn't settle he reneged on our deal, I gave it everything to make it work... Now both my children have been taken in the cruelest way possible... I don't know when I will see them again. After being together for 24 years the man I married felt his selfish needs were more important than his wife's mental well being and keeping his family together. I am just devastated.
"I was classed as an abductor; I went through the Hague convention. At the end of my court case, the courts decision finally allowed us to return back home. I suffered mental, emotional, financial and physical abuse."
I'm British, stuck in Australia with no financial help from the government to raise my Australian child
The legal system needs to get wise to emotional abuse and those that use the HC as a way of punishing as opposed to a way of ensuring a child's wellbeing"
"We are all responsible for our children's futures and elements of this legislation are clearly being exploited for the wrong reasons.
Because the current law is not in the best interest of the child, it does enable fathers to use children as a tool of control,"
"My 2 year old son was taken from me and put in the hands of his abusive father. I was helped to leave the country with the help of social services in the country, as my ex was extremely violent. He used the Hugue convention to take the last bit of happiness I had in my life. I was sentenced to six months in jail for international child abduction and my baby taken from me. After this I had to wait almost a year to get a case to see my son again. Since 2013 I have seen my son twice! Every time I get access my ex doesn't turn up and the court don't think that is an issue. This man that now has my child has drug, violence and theft convictions. He won't tell my son I am his mother and even the social in his country have wrote he will lie to my son and tell him all false information about me to brain wash him"
"The police and social work here in the UK got a child protection order to stop my ex taking my son and this didn't stand a chance in the Huge convention as my son was born in Sweden the court there was to decide. My ex never took care of my son for an hour let alone a day.
I left with my son when he was 3 weeks old! I returned to Sweden and then left again when he one and a half. His life was in the UK. His passport was British. He wasn't even a Swedish citizen. This law need changes, as so many parents like me have to live the rest of their life in utter misery. Not only that but I'm physically sick at the though of my precious child with a man who is branded a psychopath by the whole town and social. My child while in his care has been taken to hospital three times once with suspected shaken baby syndrome and the other two for anal infections!!! Please don't let any more children be subject to this. Imagine this was your baby! Your precious one and only child. My life will never been the same after this. I live on anti depressants and work and use all my wages to travel and see my son for a few hours in a month if my ex turns up. He won't even allow my son to hug me and the social turned a blind eye to it. Please let our voices be heard!"
"'Kids should be with their mother. They need their mum"
"We have had experience of this in our own family and the result has been devastating- Change can't come quickly enough."
"I have been through this myself and it's wrong"
"I have a friend who has had her child wrongfully removed from her care and placed in the care of his abusive father instead"
"It is not fair as it stands"
"The law should change"
"I believe that the convention needs to reflect all types of situations and have the power to accept that country of habitual residence isn't necessarily the best choice for the child"
"I am stuck in Italy because I am going through a divorce with an abusive Italian man who filed for a divorce against me and filed for sole custody of our 4-year-old son. I am without my son because the Court discriminated against me and based it's decision on a one sided story. I was offered no due process when my husband filed for temporary sole custody order. I was not represented and did not have notice of a hearing. In fact I was not even in the Country. I fled from an abusive relationship 1 year ago. I have returned to Italy to work things out and deal with the separation but I am living in an economic disaster and hardly able to pay rent and provide food for my 5 year old. The father will not comply with Court orders to Pay Maintenance and continues to abuse his child and me. I am on a temporary visa. My husband is trying to force me to leave the Country without my son who is also American. He alienates me and will not even allow me speak to my child for more than a few minutes if that per day. He will not Skype or face time, videos etc. He is very wealthy and has most likely paid off everyone. I just want to be treated equally in Italy and have my husband be accountable for his abuse, his contempt of Court orders, harassment and abuse toward our child. My child needs a mother and is suffering greatly being torn away from me. The situation gets worse every day. I just want to live a decent live and be together with my family and my child. He should have the opportunity to experience both worlds... America and Italy. Not just Italy, his ridiculously small Italian family the Italian way of life. He should learn English and get to see and know America just like he had been doing his entire life before our separation."
"I believe in human rights!"
"I am a stuck Mum who has learnt the hard way about The Hague convention and its complete disregard for children's wellbeing.
My ex husband gave me permission to relocate with our son, only to rescind his words, call me a kidnapper on social media and drag me to high court on Hague child abduction allegation charges. Expat or not, was still dragged to court even though he gave his consent. The law need to change. Married in the US, never was given residency by my ex, was unable to work or get any benefits, couldn't support myself, depended on him and he has been physically and emotionally abusive. Too many women are stuck in such a situation."
"I'm an expat stuck mum."
"I'm signing because this makes sense!!"
"Because I am a mother who was forced to return home to New Zealand, from Finland and leave my 2 children behind, in order to survive financially, mentally, whilst wealthy father keeps them in situ"
"It is important."
"Ye can't trap people like this"
"I am going through that hell. Even though the return of the child was refused, I am still criminally charged for that. We are in hellish limbo, legal, financially, health wise. With no alternative. Parents are not criminals, and this should be remedied, not just torn apart."
"I went through this myself. I am offering any help what so ever to help other women in this abusive situation."
"It's personal history for my children and I."
"My sister is in the same position, threatened with The Hague and so is forced to live in another country. The Hague law needs revision as it currently serves to trap women and children fleeing domestic violence etc., in foreign cultures, isolated from their family and support structure back home, often facing discrimination and no means of income, in the jurisdiction they are stuck in. Women are not informed about this law and only find out about it when it is too late. The Hague has ruined the lives of countless women and children and created misery for those who it traps. Please sign to bring awareness and hopefully change to this awful law."
"Absolutely heart-breaking and definitely needs changed"
"I’m in a similar situation"
"Some things just need to change - silly question!"
My sister had to leave her two boys behind in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband after a failed marriage and the boys were only 1yrs old & 2yrs old when she had to leave and wasn't allowed to bring them back home or live in NZ with them. Which is unfair for little toddlers whom my sister was the primary caregiver."
"I have a friend of mine sadly having this exact experience right now"
"Children should not be used as pawns in family breakdown situations. Nor should there be a "One size fits all" approach. Each case is individual and must be treated as such."
"I have been in a very similar situation."
"I am a mum trapped in Australia with my children and believe these laws need to change"
"I want my gorgeous friend and her children back in UK with her family where she belongs. And for all the other expat mums in the same position"
"I'm a mom stuck in Tunisia because my husband took the children's passports from me and I can't leave without permission from him. It's wrong to force people to be somewhere they don't want to be."
"It’s like a prison sentence"
"A mother should have the right to return home with her child without being labelled an abductor"
"My friend needs to be free to bring her kids back to England to live with her."
"I HAVE FAMILY IN CYPRUS WHO ARE NOT BEING GIVEN THE CHANCE OF A BETTER LIFE."
"I'm signing because unfortunately I have a family member who this is happening to."
"Too many women are trapped in a foreign country without support because their ex wont let them leave - personal connections in Australia"
"Je signe car je suis exactement dans là meme situation"
"My friend is stuck in this process"
"I have had my family affected with this!"
"My friend is trapped in Australia and should be allowed to bring her boys home where they belong"
"Each situation is different & needs to be treated as such. Mums shouldn't be made to feel like criminals because they want to return home rather than being frightened and alone in a country with no friends or family because a relationship has broken down. As a child I was taken away from my mother so I understand why there is a Hague convention but it is not fair to both parties and needs to be reviewed and amended"
"It's happened to me. The law needs to be clear to mothers contemplating moving abroad with young children. I cracked living in New Zealand fighting to return home (unsuccessfully). I now live in the UK without my child."
"I suffer abuse still from my daughter's father who takes great pleasure in calling me a child abductor, as I had no choice to return to the UK. I took my daughter too. The Hague convention removed my child for no reason other than we'd lived In NZ and became (Habitual residence in NZ)"
"It's unfair and does a disservice to children. The Hague convention misses some sensible functional and practical elements. The situation for those children in different countries needs to be examined. I hope other mum don't feel the heartache, utter misery and desperation I felt. Being like that is no good to children in these situations. "
"My friend is going through a very heart-breaking situation where her daughter cannot leave New Zealand due to being habitual resident. Mother lives in UK."
"I am a Mum wanting to relocate."
"My best friend is in this situation"
"I believe that many considerations are not taken into account. Leaving many children confused, torn away from mothers and breaks down families."
"I know women who has been in an abusive marriage who has been forced to leave her children behind due to the marriage breakdown despite them being the primary carer and it being in the better interest of the kids to stay with mum"
"I am signing because it is obvious that the one blocking the child(ren) from leaving is using those children as a weapon against the mother."
"Small steps x"
"New Zealand authorities refused to allow my close friend to bring her daughter back to the UK when she had to return to her native country for family reasons, despite it being the country of her daughter's birth. Her daughter is still in New Zealand now. How is this right???"
"I am signing because a similar situation has happened to my niece where she went to her husband’s country of Tunisia with their two daughters. He became abusive and mean. He left her there with the two girls and he came back to the states. He took the girls passports and will not allow her to return to her home and family"
"There is no one rule for all cases. It is right on occasions for a child to stay with the parent in that country, but in most cases the child should return with the mother"
"My niece is stuck in Tunisia with her 2 daughters."
"My friend has to live without her daughter, as the law seems to favour the abusive father."
"Mothers and children need to be protected and provided for when they have nowhere to turn."
"My cousin was in this situation in CY"
"Got friend who needs this support"
"This needs to stop!"
"The law directly affected a good friend of mine who has had to live here unsupported and trapped!"
"My friend and her daughter have suffered due to this terrible law :("
"I know of the heartbreak mothers face in this situation as a family friend went through a similar situation to those examples."
"I believe in most cases the current terms of The Hague Convention in "child abduction" cases is being abused in order to facilitate continued domestic oppression and NOT to promote the best interests of the child."
"I am stuck in Nl myself."
"My sister was restricted for 3 years from going home to Germany, had to win her court case before she could"
"Mon amie est dans cette situation"
"I am sick of women being discriminated against, especially when it prevents them from having much-needed help and support from their close relatives post-marital separation and during the up-bringing of their children. It must end."
"It affects my friend’s situation."
"A friend of mine was very affected by this..."
"My friend asked me to, she is caught in this position"
"I have had a daughter 'stuck' in another country. I firmly believe the convention is out dated. Consideration needs to be given to individual cases and fast tracked through the family courts"
"I'm signing because a friend of mine has been in this situation"
"This affects my friend"
"Ba chóir go mbeadh deis ag páistí a mhuintir a fheiscint, is cuma cén tír ina bhfuil siad."
"A friend needs and wants to come home!"
"I believe Mothers have as much right to be with their support and family as anyone else and should not be denied just because they were once married to a citizen of that country"
"I understand how this can destroy people and having had friends in this situation I believe there needs to be a change made."
"The Hague convention enshrines violence against victims leaving them with an impossible choice. Abandoning their children or remaining in the control of their children's abuser. The convention solidifies the historical control of women's bodies once they have children with a man. Although men are also affected by this the vast majority of abuse victims are women and children."
"I’m signing because I have seen the effects of these laws personally."
"We correctly have laws, which favour the primary carer at home. To reduce the primary carer's rights simply because they are overseas/expats puts thousands of children at risk (not to mention the horrendous legal experience). I have seen the abuse of these laws and its impact on families I know personally."
"This law is out-dated and does not have the best interest of the child /children"
"I am losing my 2 children because they concealed affidavits, using an unregistered child psychiatric. It is my pleasure signing this petition. Mine is on is way..."
"I'm "stuck" in Italy, nearly 2 yrs. after asking to separate from my Italian husband. I'm following the necessary steps to get a separation and also asking to relocate back to NZ but the process here is ridiculously long and I don't even know if at the end of it I'll be allowed to go home with my son. In the meantime the living situation has become even more intolerable!"
"In support of a friend."
"Know of someone affected by the Hague convention"
"I wholeheartedly agree, and I know someone who's gone through hell because of an unfair and ill thought out ruling. People should have rights and choices and have their human personal situations taken into account when families and children are involved"
"They should be allowed home!!"
"My two youngest and I are about to be affected by this"
"ich kenne auch jemand die nicht nach hause darf mit ihre sohn wegen der vater"
"The Hague Convention needs help, so that it can do its job. It doesn't work now!"
"Too many children are suffering because of irrational ill-conceived laws"
"I'm signing because I think it's awful and close to my heart"
"My daughter and young grandson were put through this awful law nine years ago and were sent back to Australia to live in homelessness and poverty. They'd only been living there for four and a half months but the relationship broke down. Her partner met someone else and wanted to stay, so she returned home with their child. He had her done for 'child abduction'! We couldn't believe it - they were all English. We put our trust in the law and believed they'd never be sent back. She'd lived in England for 35 years and her son was born here, they'd spent 19 weeks of their lives in Australia! As a family we couldn't believe the verdict. My grandson was being ordered back and if my daughter didn't agree to go with him he would be taken from her and taken back to Australia by the authorities. Her hands were tied, she had to go with him or lose him to the father forever. She went back but had nowhere to live, she was a temporary resident and the government would give her no financial help. People she met were offering her a bed for the night and a church charity provided her with food. I felt totally helpless; I couldn't protect either of them. This law affected our whole family. We'd never ever heard of it, she'd never have moved to Australia in the first place if she had. Serious changes need to be made to this law in many areas. "
"My best friends daughter and grandchildren are in Spain. Wanting to come back to the UK."
"This is a cause that should be recognised and resolved!"
"I couldn't live without my little Leo - this is ridiculous!!"
"I want my friend to be allowed home to her family."
"The safety, emotional and psychological wellbeing of a child should come first before any law"
"I am signing this because I believe that the welfare and emotional well being of children should be absolutely paramount without question (including location!!!!!!!!!!)"
"I have a friend who just wants to come home with her children. A flying visit over the Christmas period was very much needed, but at the same time heart breaking."
"It's imprisonment. Against human rights"
"I have a friend who has been through this and subsequently she is now stuck in Spain"
"I think as a responsible Mother or parent you know what's best for your own children. British born parents shouldn't be stuck abroad when there is a better support network at home"
"Yo quiero volver a inglaterra pronto con Mis ninos"
"La vida aqui es muy dificil sin dinero, trabajar, y ayudar de mi familia"
"Cosas necesita cambiar ahora"
"The parents are both British. born and bread. Father wants to stay in Mallorca with his parents. Mother wants to be near her family in England with her children. She has nobody here and cannot survive financially. Ex boyfriend they were not married is fighting for children to stay here with mum! Not with him! It boils down to a personal thing with ex and not with the children’s welfare at heart!!!"
"It's an out of date law, it's keeping mums away from their family’s and in a foreign country with no finances and no help or support, this out of date seriously needs changing!!"
"This is a shocking law"
"I know someone who is in this position and all she wants is to come home with her child."
"The law needs to be changed to allow mother and children the freedom to leave a country and return home to the UK"
"There are clearly inaccuracies in the legalities as it stands now which need addressing."
"This is what has happened to my sister last month in Mallorca she has had to go back and we are fighting for their freedom"
"I know someone this has happened to"
"I'm one of these mums"
"It is a disgrace that a father that provides no food, clothing or shelter for his baby and chooses to smoke drugs and not work has more rights than a hard working mum that has provided everything for her baby from day one. How is forcing a child to keep contact with a dad that is a bad influence a good thing?"
"I care about justice"
"My mother is stuck in Spain with my young siblings and her ex partner won't let her return, she has no money, no job no family or support out there and all she wants to do is come home!"
"They are right! Revise the convention."
"I have friends experiencing the issues"
"I'm signing because in the situations specified, enforcing the "new" country as the "habitual" country puts the parent who came as a "spouse" at a great disadvantage after divorce."
"Mothers should go back home and take their children if the relation ship fails"
"I know someone stuck where they don’t want to be"
"I'm signing because my cousin and her children are being forced to stay in a country where they are all unhappy as the mentally abusive father of her children who is Welsh not even Spanish has decided that although on a regular basis he comes home to England to watch Rugby matches, he refuses to allow my cousin and her children to move back to England as she had tried repeatedly to find happiness and compromise in Spain in order to keep the family together. Whilst in England she never refused him into her home and never threatened that he would not see the children.
The mother should be able to take her child home in this situation"
"Being an International Relocation Consultant myself, I experience first hand how stressful and at times traumatic the whole International relocation process can be for a spouse and for the family as a whole. I don't feel it is right for the mother, initially being supportive of her spouse by relocating as an expat, should be punished by having to stay in a foreign country if the marriage fails. She should be allowed to return to her home with her children should she choose to do so"
"A good friend of my niece and her mother wants to go home and can't!"
"I have a friend who desperately needs to escape before her dangerous and abusive husband finds her and kills her."
"cette convention doit être amendée pour faciliter le retour des femmes dans leur famille"
"My cousin is in the same situation. We just want her home and safe."
"no women deserves to go through this, especially women that are close to me"
"My friend is stuck in Oz with her baby and cannot leave her abusive ex"
"I have a friend in this situation with two young children and her relationship has broken down"
"My friend is stuck abroad with her children"
"I believe mothers should be able to leave a country with their children if they wish"
"My friend is stuck"
"I have lived abroad, I separated from my husband after the death of my eldest child, husbands anger and violence and his adultery...my 2 surviving children needed a lot of love support and even therapy after returning home with me.... they would not have received this and now be happy if they had not been able to come home and rebuild our lives"
"This should apply to any spouse living in a country where he/she is not originally from, regardless of the other spouse's nationality. I have friends/family who got divorced abroad and were unable to return home because their ex was uncooperative and the court cases dragged on. When their funds are cut off because they are going through a divorce, this becomes an intolerable situation for the partners left to fend for themselves."
"My friend is stuck in Australia with her daughter. The baby’s father is Australian & will not let them return to the mother’s home country."
"I am a mother who has been through a separation in England and that is bad enough and couldn't think of anything worse than trying to fight for your child to be with you in a different country"
"She's a lovely friend of mine and I know truly how hard the relationship has been on her and how extremely hard she has worked to make things better with X and I know it's the right thing for her to go home"
"I feel a small child is always the loser if separated from her mum; children must not be used as pawns"
"I want them home"
"I know someone stuck in Australia with a young baby & an abusive ex spouse who is using the law to keep them there against their will."
"This is abnormal in this day & age"
"I am a child advocate."
"I'm an expat mother who wants what's best for her children, which is to return home."
"It's the RIGHT thing to do!"
" X is my niece & this convention is wrong."
"Babies need their mothers and young mums need their family support. Do not allow mothers and babies suffer by keeping them away from homeland."
"I know someone in this awful situation"
"I know an extraordinary woman whose life is being torn apart due to this horrible injustice."
"I am in this situation at the moment and currently separated from my kids. I would have been protected by other laws, justice and reason if the Hague Convention had not been enacted. Due to that, I have lost most of my rights as a mother and the children are living with an unstable father who is protected by French law. I sign this in hope of a fair court case and for my children."
"A family member is affected by this convention"
"I am stuck in Australia with my son. My son, his father and myself are NZ citizens. My son has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. All the support we need is in NZ."
"To support a friend who desperately needs to return to NZ with her unwell son to receive family to enable her to give the very best care for her son. Is being blocked by her ex husband using Hague agreement."
"Because in a situation where I can not go home with my children"
"Have a grandson with his mother entrapped in Australia without financial help or support. Child has duchennes muscular distrophy
Please sign this."
"I know someone currently going through this"
"I'm signing this petition because my cause who has a illness is stuck in Australia with his mother (my aunty) with the family of financial help and cannot return to there home where they will have family and financial support because of the Dad who was born in new Zealand not letting his son return to where his son was born"
"I know of a mum that had a situation like this"
"My USA daughter and grandchildren are in Cyprus due to unjust use of The Hague. The mother and children should never have been allowed to be separated; the children were taken by their father & paternal grandmother with full intention of parental alienation keeping the children from the mother and her family for no just reason."
"I believe that the children I know in this situation are not being taken care of by father and mother not allowed her rights to be with her children"
"A friend of a friend is affected by this petition"
"A friend is in this situation."
"She should be in NZ with her family n friends"
"I have many friends abroad dealing with this exact issue."
"Friend stuck in Australia due to this draconian legislation. So stupid when all concerned parties are NZ citizens. It is purely a weapon and is only to the detriment of the child's wellbeing"
"My friend is stuck in a country her and her child were not born in because her also nz born husband doesn't want her to return to her home with one of his children. Yet ALL his other children live in nZ. (3). All my friends’ family friends and support are in NZ. She is not entitled to support. He does not pay support. Her child has a debilitating condition and will end up costing the country they're being kept prisoner in. All because of her ex husbands ego and decision to make his wife pay for walking out on him. Not because he's thinking of his child's best welfare."
"I have been suffering immensely in the same situation for the last 4 years and simply want to return to my home country with my kids so I can have a fair ground. The UAE is no place for women...we are just doormats and the men become larger than life with the protection that the law gives them here."
"Children should not be taken from one of their parents to alienate them from the other parent to live in a foreign country."
"This is deplorable; get the children back with their mom"
"Every one has the right."
"I went to Australia in 2011 with my husband and two children on the basis that we would return if I didn't like it ( my husband had previously lived there) I was very unhappy from the start but my husband said he would never allow me and the children to return home, I spiralled in to depression and suffered anxiety and panic attacks. My husband had also financially crippled us and was pursuing relationships with other women. My desperation led me to 'abduct' my children and return home in September this year. The courts ordered the return of my children on Boxing Day. My 14 year old daughter refused to go. My husband told her she could make up her own mind and just took my ten-year-old son. After returning to Australia my husband pushed for my daughter to be returned and we had to attend high court yesterday, where my daughter who feels so strongly about staying and had engaged her own barrister, was told that despite her objections she is being forced to return to her father on January 23rd. She is heartbroken, as of course I am too. I feel completely unable to physically or emotionally return to Australia and fear for my mental health. I would say that my being there would be putting my children in an intolerable situation as I know that without the support of my family here I would have a break down or worse. I was the primary care giver for my children. My husband often works away and works long days. His lies in court were staggering. But with The Hague all issues are so black and white and no merit is given to the background of the situation. No, my husband was not physically violent, but the emotional abuse I endured and entrapment I felt was crippling. I will remain here and will have to pursue my case in Australia, once I have tried to save more money (my fight here has cost thousands). I am bereft at the return of my children."
"This is an antiquated law and contradicts the current immigration laws."
"For my amazing sister who has had both children forced back to Australia, and there’s nothing she can do."
"Because mothers want to go home where they can provide for their children in a healthy supportive way. They don't get benefits in other country and means staying in a country both mother and children suffer without finance.I believe if they want this to happen then the parent that is enforcing it should be ordered to paid for both mother and child all costs for living needs "
"A friend’s sister is fighting to have her children back to live in the UK with her and her family."
To Be continued...........................