Goldman School of Public Policy - University of California, Berkeley

What Victims Should Know About the Hague Convention and ICARA

Warning: If someone abusing you has access to your computer, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7283), TDD 1-800 787-3224, to prevent Internet tracking.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and have fled across international borders:

The abducting parent who is fleeing domestic violence should be aware that the serious consequences under the Hague Convention are only some of the consequences facing individuals who “abduct” or flee with their children across international borders.

The Convention’s intent is to enable the left-behind parent to have legal recourse against the abducting parent. Under the traditional interpretation of the Convention an abducting parent who flees the country for her own survival and the safety of her children can be forced to return her children to the left-behind parent, even if that parent is a perpetrator of violence. The abducting parent may be forced to return to an abusive home.

Do not despair! Contact an attorney if you are a victim of domestic violence and have fled across international borders with your children. There may be ways to apply the Hague Convention (and its ICARA implementation) along with other laws to help you.

If you are the victim of domestic violence and have had your children abducted:

If a victim of domestic violence becomes the left-behind parent to a child taken to a country that is a member of the Convention they can file a Hague petition application. If the country where the child is taken is not a party to the Convention, the left-behind parent can still contact the U.S. Department of State for information about that country by contacting one of the State Department’s embassies or consulates abroad. Such assistance can include information on the country’s legal system, family laws, and attorney contacts.

For more information please visit the U.S. Department of State, International Child Abduction Web site.