Sunday, February 28, 2010

What To Do If An Immanent or In Progress International Parental Child Abduction is Occuring.

What To Do If An Abduction Is Immanent Or In Progress?

When you believe that your child or children have been abducted by either their other parent or a non-stranger, you must remember that time is a precious commodity you do not have. You must act efficiently, thoughtfully, and purposefully with respect to all efforts that you are about to put forth in recovering your child. Of utmost importance is the fact that you need to know everything that everyone involved in your child’s recovery is doing. Critically, you must stay calm, stay alert, immediately contact law enforcement, and immediately contact a lawyer familiar with family custody law.

1. Never give up HOPE that you will find your child or children no matter how long and difficult the road you have to journey on is.

2. IMMEDIATELY contact your local police and your local branch of the FBI (in Canada, the RCMP) and share with them all the details that support your belief that your child’s abduction is imminent or in progress. Do not wait to file your police report! Make sure you have as much evidence to support your claim as possible, including any witnesses that can support your claims. While sharing this information with the police, make sure that you file a missing child report immediately. This report is important as it allows the police to place a description of the child who is missing on the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database, (and in Canada the Canadian Police Information Centre {CPIC} computer system) so all police forces in the United States (and likewise, in Canada) will know the child is missing. The police should notify border crossing and all ferry, rail, airport facilities. If there is any hesitancy on their part to do so, under all circumstances demand that all border crossing locations and transportation companies (ferry services, airlines, etc.) are notified, and that all travel manifests are immediately reviewed. If you suspect parental or non-stranger abduction, provide the police with a photo of the suspected abductor, an address, telephone number and any other pertinent information about that person.

3. URGENTLY, in The United States, immediately contact the United States Department of State – Office of Children’s Issues. They can be reached at 202-736-9090 or at 888.407.4747. In Canada, contact the Justice Legal Services in Ottawa at 613.996.1300 or 613.992.6300.

4. In The United States, immediately contact the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children (1-800-The-Lost), and in Canada, contact The Missing Children Society of Canada (800.661.6160).

5. Laws in many states give judges authority to issue a 'pickup' order for the child to prevent an imminent abduction or harm to the child. Pickup orders go by different names, including 'warrant to take physical custody of a child' and 'warrant in lieu of a writ of habeas corpus'.

6. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), in effect in most states, provides an emergency ex parte proceeding for getting a law enforcement directed pickup order (in conjunction with a custody enforcement order) when abductions or serious physical harm to a child is imminent. If the requirements are met, a judge should issue an order directing law enforcement to pick up the child and to serve notice of the custody enforcement proceedings.

7. If you believe your child's safety is in danger, and you have credible evidence that your partner is intending to imminently take your child and abduct to another country - file an emergency ex parte motion in court immediately, and make sure you or your lawyer notify your local law enforcement that you are filing an emergency motion before the court.

8. When possible, you and/or someone you trust should stay in close physical proximity of the child. Consider hiring a seasoned private investigator to monitor the movements of your spouse and child.

9. STAY CALM. Contact neighbors, friends, spouse, siblings and anyone who may know where your child may be. Invite a friend or acquaintance with a "calm" manner to be with you.

10. Conduct a telephone search. Call family, friends and relatives who may wish to help. Encourage them to use their telephones to make inquiry calls so your line will remain free for incoming calls. If you have to leave the house, have an answering machine on the line or have a friend or neighbor take incoming calls.

11. Have friends and relatives conduct a basic land search of the neighborhood area while you are making a police report. With family and friends, try to recall the present and past few days of family situations and activities (a recent argument or disciplinary action could be the reason for hiding).

12. Provide the police with the information in your prepared Identification Kit. This kit should include updates clear photographs, foot and fingerprints, birth certificate, medical history, passport, dental records, X-rays, child's name and description including location of scars, birthmarks and any other identifiable data (glasses, braces, earrings, etc.). A videotape or a recent home video of the child may be made specifically for the kit. Try to keep a mental note of what your child is wearing each day.

13. Conduct a complete physical search of your area. Organize a search party of friends and relatives to search areas such as, child's route home from school, community center, friend’s houses, favorite hang-out etc. Be on the lookout for articles of clothing, toys, books other personal belongings scattered on the ground. If found, do not disturb. Contact a police officer immediately.

14. Leave someone at home at all times to answer the telephone in case your child calls.

15. Continue to keep the telephone lines FREE at all times.

16. Continue your search even if there are no immediate results. Follow up for updates on the case by contacting the investigating police officer and the provincial searching agency who registered your child.

17. Solicit media support such as radio, television, local publications and newspapers only at the advice of the police and searching agency involved with the case. Be mindful that once your spouse has illegally taken your child and is on the run, they essentially will act like a fugitive (in many cases they are due to arrest warrants issued by the local court). Typically, a person running from law enforcement is willing to take risks that they might otherwise not be inclined to take under more normal circumstances. These risks can be very concerning, and could potentially place the child as well as the abducting parent in grave and dangerous situations. So, before you solicit help from the media, weigh out the opinions and advice of law enforcement, your lawyer, and your private investigators, if you have hired for these services.

18. Distribute a photograph of the missing child as well as your spouse or ex-spouse who has taken your child.

19. Keep a detailed diary of people and agencies you have contacted and steps you have already taken. Logging the events limits the duplication of efforts and allows a review of inquiries.

20. Hire a local lawyer familiar with local and international child custody law and have your attorney appear before your local court immediately. Share with the court the details of your child’s abduction and all other relevant information to allow the judge to understand the seriousness of the matter. It is critical that you are honest, open, and credible before the court. In simple terms: do not lie, do not fabricate anything, and do not give the court any reason to question your credibility. Tell the good, the bad, and the ugly. Request that the court grant you sole full custody and sole full guardianship of your child or children if you do not already have it. Also request that the court direct your spouse to immediately return with the child to the place of original jurisdiction (if he or she has a lawyer in the jurisdiction, you should be able to serve that person [have your lawyer check on matters of service]. Request that the court issue a ‘pick-up’ order directing police officers to assist you in finding and returning your child to you.

21. If you know your child has been taken to another country, contact the United Stated Department of State – Office Of Children’s Issues and immediately file a Hague Application for the wrongful international abduction and retention of your child.

22. Make sure you monitor all bank accounts and remove all assets that are in joint-tenancy into your sole name.

23. If you are the primary holder on any assets and credit cards, immediately remove your spouse’s name on every account.

24. Immediately contact your credit card companies and put a security alert on all of your credit cards. This will direct the credit card company to request that you show proper identification to the merchant during each time you use a credit card, or, in the event of electronic online transactions, a representative from the credit card company’s security department will be required to contact you in order to authorize the transaction. Also, make sure you put two password questions and answers (not one – but two), on your bank and credit card accounts in order to prevent having anyone else other than you access your money.

25. Contact all credit reporting agencies and request that you are immediately notified of any credit inquiries, remarks, or additional accounts. Make sure that each agency issues a security alert, directing each requesting credit company to seek additional verifying information that any inquiries or applications made to their company were made by you.

26. Monitor all cell phones of your spouse, and, if possible, have all cell phones, emails, and any other communication devices monitored.

27. Check with your spouse’s friends, family, and acquaintances and see if they were aware of any information that might lead you to locate your child. Typically, a person who is standoffish, might have known of the abductor’s plans, or, has already been influenced by that person, and will be of little help to you. If that occurs, immediately report this to law enforcement investigating the abduction. If the police chose to interview that person, and they lie to law enforcement, they can be criminally charged with a crime.

28. Check in your child or children’s rooms for any hints or clues as to where they might have been taken.

29. Check your ex-spouse or spouse’s personal items for any clues as to where they might have taken your child.

30. If your ex-spouse or spouse has family that live in a foreign country, hire the services of a private investigator in that country to immediately follow your ex-spouse or spouse’s parents and other family members in order to determine where the child has been taken and is located. This very well may be the best set of dollars you will spend. Remember, any recovery actions cannot be taken until your child’s location is known. In many international parental child abduction cases, the abducting parent chooses to go underground with the child, and develops behavior similar to a fugitive on the run (they are fugitives). Typically, they have a support network in place, and the abduction has been carefully planned and enabled through the assistance of family members and friends. Finding and knowing where your child was taken to is the most important action once you know the child has been removed from the country of habitual residency. Without knowing what country your child is in – you cannot file a Hague Application … and you will be spinning your wheels endlessly trying to find out where your child is. One final note on this subject: according to the provisions in The Hague, there exists language that essentially enables a Hague judge overseeing the case to allow for a child to stay with the abducting parent if the abducting parent is able to prove to the court that returning the child to the country of origin would be detrimental to the child’s best interest. One of the techniques commonly used in a Hague defense is to demonstrate that the child or children have adjusted and desires to live in the country they were wrongfully and illegally taken to. In certain situations, a judge may believe that the child or children have settled into their ‘new life’, and that uprooting them would be harmful, and not in the child’s best interest. So – it is critically important for a Chasing Parent to know where the child was taken to as soon as possible and immediately file for the child’s return under the protocols of The Hague Convention.

31. If your child is taken to another country, consult heavily with a lawyer in your local jurisdiction familiar with The Hague Convention, and, make sure you hire a lawyer familiar with the rules of The Hague Convention in the jurisdiction you know your child was taken to.

32. Become familiar with the laws and customs of the country that your child has been taken to.

33. Consult with The International Center For Missing And Exploited Children, The National Center For Missing And Exploited Children, the governing agency who acts as The Hague Signatory for your country (in The United States, the U.S. State Department acts as the official Hague representative for The United States Government).

34. Try to keep yourself physically active, eat a healthy diet, and rest on a regular basis.

35. Never give up Hope that you will be reunited with your child.

36. Remember, you must know everything that everyone involved with your child’s recovery is doing. Do not be concerned about any or your actions other than one: finding your child. In essence – do whatever you have to do in order to protect your child – but remember, your actions must not place your child in any harm’s way. That is why it is important for you to consult with the experts – but remember – you must know everything – including as much as possible on family law, and the rules of The Hague Convention.

37. Allow and trust in The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Hague Courts do work!

38. If your child or children have been issued a passport and you have access to it, make sure you hold it and secure it in a safe place. If your child has not been issued a passport, then immediately contact the agency overseeing passport issuances, and appraise them of the present situation. Typically, law enforcement or an officer from the State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues overseeing your Hague Application will do this as well.

39. In the event that your child does not have a passport from the country they habitually lived in, and no passport has been requested or issued by your local government, then make sure that law enforcement contact the local embassy of the country your spouse was originally from, and inform them of the litigation taking place.

40. One of the most important things you can do in the early stages of an international child abduction is to establish friendly contact with the relatives and friends of the other parent, both in your country and abroad. The fastest and most effective way to resolve international child abductions is for the abducting parent to return the child voluntarily. While there may be good reasons for you to believe that this approach won’t work, it is important that the effort be made.

41. Make sure you have a cell phone with you at all times, that it is fully charged, that you keep a charged back-up battery, and a back-up phone charger.

42. If you are traveling abroad to search for your child, make sure you send yourself back-up ‘emergency’ money via Western Union (Western Union is reliable, serves most locations around the world, and funds can be accessed immediately).

For more information about international parental child abduction or to read excerpts from Peter Thomas' critically acclaimed 'Chasing The Cyclone', please visit

Slander and Defamation: The Tools Of A Parental Child Abductor by Peter Thomas, author of Chasing The Cyclone

Many Chasing Parents throughtout the world know all to well one of the difficult techniques used by an abductor and the abductor's lawyers in order to break the spirit, will, and financial resources of the parent left behind in the wake of the criminal act that is international parental child abduction is to slander that person's name and reputation while implementing as many legal stall tactics as possible before the courts.

I write from personal experience: I am a Chasing Father who successfully recovered my child when he was abducted and taken half-way across the world.

Strategically speaking, nearly every lawyer who has represented a Hague case on behalf of a Chasing Parent will agree that it is critical to keep a narrow focus on whether a parent's custody rights were denied by the other parent in international cases, and by doing so, wrongfully detained the child from their rights of a child/parent relationship and purposefully breached the custody order of a previous court.

The primary purpose of The Hague Court is to determine if a right of custody was denied from a previous court order, and if so, to return the child and their abducting parent (this is done usually on a voluntary basis) to the court of original jurisdiction so the court of original jurisdiction can determine what is in the child's best interest, including matters of custody and visitation.

The test from the start is to ask the question: Did the abducting parent violate the custody laws of another court by removing the child from the country of original jurisdiction illegally and, by doing so, was there a denial of the Chasing Parent's legal rights of custody to that child?

Under this premise, The Hague Convention's Central Authority's court located in the country that the abduction has taken place will typically pay attention to the narrow focus and intent of the Treaty: was a previous court order regarding custody breached? If so (and there are no dangerous consequences to the child [the best interest of the child]), then typically the Hague Court will order for the child to be returned to his or her original jurisdiction.

But this is not always the case.

Section 13 of The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction reads:

Article 13

Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding Article, the judicial or administrative authority of the requested State is not bound to order the return of the child if the person, institution or other body which opposes its return establishes that –

a) the person, institution or other body having the care of the person of the child was not actually exercising the custody rights at the time of removal or retention, or had consented to or subsequently acquiesced in the removal or retention; or

b) there is a grave risk that his or her return would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation.

The judicial or administrative authority may also refuse to order the return of the child if it finds that the child objects to being returned and has attained an age and degree of maturity at which it is appropriate to take account of its views.

In considering the circumstances referred to in this Article, the judicial and administrative authorities shall take into account the information relating to the social background of the child provided by the Central Authority or other competent authority of the child's habitual residence.

This is the 'defense' Article, the mantra if you will, used by every abducting parent and their lawyer in order to defend against the act of abduction. Article 13 is always used to defend the serious criminal action of abduction by doing two things:

A) By attempting to create a picture to the courts and the public that returning the child to their original jurisdiction is in fact an act that will cause dire and unnecessary hardship to the child, and that such hardship is cruel and will have both short and long-reaching consequences for the child.

B) The abducting parent and their lawyer will attempt to portray the left behind parent in as much as an unfavorable light as possible. This typically includes a great deal of mud-slinging in court, whereas the abducting parent will make false accusations against the other parent including drug use, violence, abuse, non-interest, non-support, criminal behavior, sexual abuse, pedophilia, death-threats, etc.

Typically, these false statements will also find their way on the Internet, where, under any blog forum, a person can log on and write a scandalous statement or story under an assortment of alias names. They then follow-up that scandalous story or post with another alias blog post and essentially attempt to support the lie already posted on line.

And herein rests one of the great problems for the Chasing Parent: the Internet holds very little accountable. It is extremely difficult to have removed slander and defamatory statements under many websites own operating policies. Add in the fact that many slanderous remarks will be made under alias or anoynomous names, and you must now consider that Chasing Parent do not even have a clue as to where to begin to serve legal documents in order to have the defamation removed. In the end, the Chasing Parent's name and reputation are damaged, regardless of the court's final ruling.

It is noteworthy to point out that nearly every international parental child abduction that occurs is well planned out. So, if the Internet is going to be used to support false allegations that a would-be abducting parent intends to use in court as a means to defend against their act of criminal abduction - make no mistake about it - slander and defamation very well could begin before the actual abduction takes place.

The slander scheme supports the defense of Article 13 Subsection B of the Convention because the abductor's defense will be able to find 'public' support that demonstrates the Chasing Parent is in fact detrimental to the child's safety. Of course, proving this scheme before a court may be a whole other issue. Nevertheless, nearly every Chasing Parent is not immune to slander and defamation. Needless to say, it is in the best interest of the abducting parent and that person's advisors to do everything possible - including attempting to portray the Chasing Parent as a bad person - in order to defend agains their own criminal act of child abduction.

This is an Article 13 subsection A defense.

The reality for most Chasing Parents and their children victimized by the multiple crimes that surround and include international child abduction is that they do not have the financial resources necessary to fight the fight. Combine this with the abducting parent's attempt to beat-down the spirit of the Chasing Parent by a campaign of slander, not to mention the difficulties in fighting an international legal case, and you the conclusion is easy to make: Abducting Parents (who typically abduct a child in order to cause pain and suffering to the other parent), are unstable and dangerous - to both the abducted child and the Chasing Parent.

If you are interested in learning more about international parental child abduction, please visit my website If you are interested in reading more about my writings, please visit my website

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Peter Thomas Senese's Groundbreaking Documentary on International Parental Child Abduction Is A Call To Arms


For Peter Thomas Senese, the near four-year journey leading up to his upcoming international release of the documentary film titled 'CHASING PARENTS: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction' has been one filled with a full array of great challenges and extraordinary accomplishments. The film has two main goals. The first is to provide a blueprint for other Chasing Parents on what to do and how to act if their own child is internationally abducted. The second, and a more formidable goal,is to educate society on the grave issues surrounding international parental child abduction while providing insight on necessary legal reform that could help prevent the criminal international abduction of children. The acclaimed author, writing under either the name Peter Senese or Peter Thomas, unexpectedly raced into the brutal and at times deadly storms, other Chasing Parents encounter in the wake of the international abduction of their defenseless child. For Peter Thomas, the most difficult challenge he faced was coping with the concern over his child's safety while navigating the long and complex road he would have to endure in order to protect his young son. The triumphs, and there have been many, include first and foremost, what every Chasing Parent desires most: the safe recovery and return of their child. 'CHASING PARENTS: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction' is one of the very first documentary films that extensively addresses the full scope of the massive, but seldom spoken crisis stolen children and their Chasing Parents left behind in the aftermath of the criminal abduction of their child must face. Unfortunately, and tragically, there exists a growing worldwide epidemic that destroys the lives of most who cross its path, including innocent children, and its name is International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA). Each year, tens of thousands of children are abducted by one parent from another and taken across international borders without the knowledge and permission of the other parent. Many of these children never come home. Many disappear. Some are lost forever. In the United States, it is believed that there are over 11,000 internationally criminally abducted children who have not been brought home. This number is believed to be significantly higher because it does not include a large number of cases not filed with the United States Central Authority due to either technicalities (previously including military personnel who were unable to file while living abroad, and presently including dual parent green-card holders, political asylum cases, etc.), or the prevalent feeling of hopelessness felt by many parents based upon the extremely high recovery cost, a complex legal maze, and belief that there exists nationalistic prejudices in foreign countries. This equates to the belief that it is nearly impossible to recover their abducted child. The highly educational and eye-opening film consists of seven main segments: Part I - Introduction, Part II - Warning Signs, Part III - Abduction in Progress, Part IV - Parental Alienation and Child Abduction, Part V - Post Abduction Reunification, Part VI - Reform and Change, and Part VII - Laws and Credits.The now completed production and upcoming release of this invaluable documentary is, for Peter Thomas Senese, the completion of a two-part educational project he promised to create once his journey of chasing the cyclones of international parental child abduction ended. It is the Writer - Producer's hope and aspiration to increase local and global dialogue concerning prevention, education, and accountability of all legal systems, institutions, and governments responsible to uphold laws pertaining to the welfare and safety of children. The children's advocate, writing under his first and middle name, Peter Thomas, will release 'Chasing The Cyclone' in the late spring, 2010. Reviewers and critics are praising 'Chasing The Cyclone' as an extraordinary, masterfully written story of a father's love for his son, and heralding Peter Thomas Senese as a writer of great distinction. 'Chasing The Cyclone', written in the form of a novel, was inspired by the author's experiences as a Chasing Parent. "'Chasing The Cylone' will shake the audience, this exciting cautionary thriller grips readers from the onset ..." Amazon # 1 Reviewer, Harriet Klausner "Peter Thomas now opens the windows on the magnitude of these tragedies in his excellent 'Chasing The Cyclone' ... As if the fast paced energy of this story weren't enough to satisfy the reader, Peter Thomas demonstrates his quality as a writer of distinction on many levels ... this impossible to put down ..." Amazon # 3 Reviewer, Dr. Grady Harp "'Chasing The Cycone' isn't just a powerful novel, it's a call to arms against a growing epidemic that is tearing lives apart ... a superb, can't put down novel, though; it is a book with a purpose ... Peter Thomas has become an outspoken advocate on this issue ... I would go so far as to encourage every loving parent to read this book, as the bond between this father and son is one to be emulated ..." Amazon # 14 Reviewer, Daniel Jolley "'Chasing The Cyclone' is a must read. You will not be able to put it down. It may very well change the way you look at life, child custody ... I cannot endorse this book enough ..." The Examiner"[In 'Chasing The Cyclone'] Peter Thomas masterfully reveals the disturbing world of an abducted child ... Peter has taken the tragedy of his child's abduction and the remarkable efforts he implemented in order to reunite with his child, and worked not only to share it in a manner that seeks to educate the reader, but has embraced his experience to provide relief for other families caught in this global epidemic ..." Maureen Dabbagh: Parent International Peter Thomas Senese fully supports The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction. However, as he points out in both 'Chasing The Cyclone' and in 'CHASING PARENTS: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction', the grave failures in the areas of research and education, combined with an inept global approach toward prevention, has taxed the international judicial system created via The Hague Convention. Extending the difficulties many Chasing Parents face is the fact that many nation-signatories of The Hague Convention fail to enforce the rules of the international treaty they signed. Additionally, many nations, including those in the Middle East and Asia have not signed the international treaty, which creates near-impossible hurdles for Chasing Parents seeking the lawful return of their abducted child from non-signatory nations. Accountability is critical, yet there appears to be limited accountability throughout the system. This is something Senese heavily weighs in on. Segments of 'CHASING PARENTS: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction' are presently available for preview at Chasing The Cyclone's official website, Peter Thomas Senese points out that 'CHASING PARENTS: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction' was made possible due to other Chasing Parents, children of abduction, and leading government and private sector experts working in the area of IPCA's eagerness to contribute to this desperately needed film. Senese also states that Mr. Ken Connelly, the author of Throwing Stones was extraordinarily helpful with the production of this film. The filmmaker strongly points out that making this film would have been impossible if not for the assistance he received from key individuals at the U.S. Department of State - Office Of Children's Issues, Canada's Ministry of Attorney General, and New Zealand's Ministry of Justice when he was 'Chasing The Cyclone'. Pacifica and Peter Thomas Senese intend to offer complimentary DVD's of this film to all requesting government agencies and institutions, courts, educators, and organizations that provide outreach to child-victims and their families upon its release later this Spring. It is Peter Thomas Senese's hope that the film will be used as a resource tool that will increase awareness and educate others in order to bring about reform and change in the name of the best interest of children everywhere. To preview 'CHASING PARENTS: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction' or to read excerpts on 'CHASING THE CYCLONE' please visit or