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About this Project

‘There’s no support for teenagers and we don’t have rights’  – A teenager on his experience of going through The Hague

This project is aimed at helping ‘abducted’ young people, those who have been taken by one parent from oversees and brought to the UK without the permission of the other parent. When the left behind parent starts court proceedings to have the child returned the situation can become very confusing and unsettling for the child who is often vulnerable, confused and in emotional distress.

There is a total lack of information and support for these young people. They
are not aware of the system, or their rights or ways they can have their voice
heard in legal proceedings. They are totally dis-empowered.

They often suffer with anxiety, caused by high conflict experiences they had
prior to the move or ongoing worries caused by legal proceedings or uncertainty about what might happen in the future.

Our survey of 400 families tells us that 90% have experienced domestic abuse.
Another study (Freeman, 2014) shows that a high proportion (73.53%) of abducted children in the sample reported suffering very significant mental health effects.

They do not know where to turn for emotional support and can feel isolated.
They might not attend school so would not access support there. They can feel,
and be, completely alone.

Children need proper support, it’s incredibly stressful no-one to turn to, no outlet except their stressed, traumatised mums’. – Steph (A taking mother)

Do you work with ‘Abducted’ children and young people directly or indirectly? Please share your experiences via our form in order to gather evidence about the needs of young people. Many thanks in advance!

Are you a lawyer who is experienced at representing young people through a Hague Convention case in England & Wales? Please fill in the contact form to join the list.

Research highlights the needs of ‘abducted’ children and young people

An interviewee spoke about how difficult it was to get the right help and said that “Even now, I don’t know what to ask for” in terms of support. She said that “if you have someone who dies there is all this stuff about grief and all these steps you go through, but there is nothing for abduction. In other fields when extraordinary events occur to ordinary people, those involved are recognised as needing help and support. There is little or none available for those who have been through an abduction event, and this needs to change.’ (Prof.Marilyn Freeman, PCA, 2014).

The ‘Bouncing Back’ report, MCE 2017 states: Regarding the recommendations of the respondents, their advice to children in a similar situation is to adapt and search for professional help (or an organisation to go) to talk about their stay in the other country.’
‘The lack of specialist knowledge and support for abduction victims was a recurring theme in the interviews.’ ‘These children and young people need information made specifically for them, to inform them of the system and to empower them to know their rights and options.’ (Prof. Freeman, 2014)