Abduction of Children to Other Countries and the Airport Watch List

Children are sometimes removed, or attempts are made to remove them, from their home country by an aggrieved parent without the consent of the other parent. There are procedures to enable the prevention of such occurrences, including placing a child, or children, on the Airport Watch List.

The Airport Watch List attempts to prevent abduction of children from Australia by means of an alert system which comes into effect if a child’s passport is presented at Australian Customs. A concerned parent can apply to the Court to have a child placed on the Airport Watch List where there is a risk that a child may be removed from Australia without the consent of the custodial parent. A genuine risk may arise, for example, where a parent has a child’s passport and has threatened to remove the child from Australia.

To place a child on the Airport Watch List, the process involves the filing of an Application in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia requesting Court Orders that place children on the Airport Watch List.

Once an Application has been filed at the Court Registry, a child or children can immediately be placed on the Airport Watch List (prior to a first Court attendance) by providing a copy of the Application to the Australian Federal Police. At the first Court attendance, the Court will make a determination as to whether the child should remain on the Airport Watch List.

If you believe that there is a reasonable possibility that a relocation of your child/children by the other parent may occur to another country you should take appropriate action quickly.

Feel free to contact O’Brien Connors & Kennett on (02) 9982 1655.

You can obtain more information regarding the Airport Watch List from the Australian Federal Police website using the address below. www.afp.gov.au/policing/family-law

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