When the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) was ratified, it was no doubt envisaged that it would assist in protecting children from harm. However, in practice it is often having the effect of preventing women and children from escaping violent fathers. Like many protective measures introduced by the legal system, these provisions are now being used as a weapon against women and are infringing their human rights.
On the current operation of the law, once a woman conceives a child, regardless of the father’s subsequent level of involvement or conduct, she has unwittingly traded her right to liberty of movement and the freedom to choose her own place of residence if she wants to retain custody of her child. The Australian High Court has reaffirmed that, within this patriarchal legal system, resistance is futile.