Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon said the service would provide practical support to parents in distressing circumstances.
“We want to make it as straightforward as possible for parents to get the assistance they need when dealing with the abduction of their children from Australia,” Ms Roxon said.
“The Hague Convention on international child abduction, to which Australia is a signatory, provides a strong mechanism for lawfully seeking the return of abducted children to Australia. However, accessing information about the Convention and knowing how to apply to meet its requirements can be daunting for many parents during one of the most stressful and difficult times of their lives.”
She said the new legal assistance service would complement the counselling and mediation service already provided by International Social Services (ISS) Australia.
She said a new funding agreement with ISS would provide a national service to help parents prepare and lodge applications from Australia for the return of, or access to, children under the Convention.
Ms Roxon said it would also address key recommendations of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee report into international child abduction to and from Australia.
“This service will now provide a one stop shop offering legal and counselling assistance for Australian families affected by the abduction of their child from Australia,” she said.
“With the assistance of International Social Services, Australian parents will be able to apply directly to the Attorney-General’s Department, as the Australian Central Authority – and the national contact - for the Hague Convention.”
She said more information could be accessed at this PS News link.