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Thu 6th February 2014

Proactive, Passive, By Chance, or Destructive Government Management of Child Abduction?

Filed under: General,Law & Courts — MurrayBacon @ 1:42 pm

I suggest that any Government’s management of social issues can be evaluated on the continuum:

Destructive, By Chance, Passive, or Proactive Management.

In the UK, the Government partially funds a charity called Unite, which advocates for abducted children and parents left behind by abduction. This funding allows limited research to be carried out into the effects of abduction on the children and on left behind parents.

UK THE OUTCOMES FOR CHILDREN RETURNED FOLLOWING AN ABDUCTION

This research report was greatly influenced by legal workers. Although a lot of money has been spent in carrying out the research, it appears to suffer from the rather legalistic viewpoint and seems to miss out largely the impacts onto the children. This comparison is stark, if this report is compared to “Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome” by Amy. J. Baker (psychologist).

The UK report and research did not start with a literature search, which would be considered a fatal flaw in a professional social science study. Similarly, the sample size achieved was only 22 cases, which is a very small fraction out of about 500 cases each year in UK and several thousand per year in all of the countries surveyed. Such a poor survey response would be considered almost fatal in a professional social science research study. Although several tables, graphs and charts are included, there were no statistical comparisons of the demographics in the 22 sampled cases, with the reported national statistics. This is unfortunate, as these comparisons are important to obtaining an indication of how representative her sample of abductions were. It appears that her convenience sample under represented abducting mothers and overrepresented abducting fathers. This may have been due to her obtaining cases through legal workers, who receive income from associated legal “work”. This would have allowed legal workers to select which cases they would supply to the researcher and thereby manipulate the outcome. As a result, it is way out of line with national statistics showing 85% abducting mothers and 15% abducting fathers. This fact alone should lead to extreme caution, before making any decisions at all based on this report.

These sample issues also raise serious doubts about the reliability of the outcomes noted, as the sample skew bias can be expected to lead to under estimation of outcome effects, as mother abductions are much less acted on under Hague Convention for Civil Aspects of Child Abduction.

More seriously, the survey covered adult issues ie due to legal bias, where the main social damage issues are child and family social protection. The funders would have done better to purchase a copy of Amy J. Baker’s book, which was much more child focussed.

The UK report appeared to not have learned from the situations presented in Robin Bowles book Taken In Contempt. This book gives a fairly representative sample of abductions and gives a representative view of the consequences of abduction.

Professor Marilyn Freeman Shadow
Proessor Marilyn Freeman Human Rights and Social Justice Institute Metropolitan University London

Although the research into the impact of abduction on children was carried out in 2003, apparently no further actions have been taken by UK Government, to protect children from international abduction. (Some students of governance have suggested that there is little point in carrying out research, if subsequently the results of the research are not translated into constructive action.)

The UK has a large number of relatively recent immigrants, many from countries who are not signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction. As a result, abductions by both mothers and fathers are at a horrific level. (NZ has fairly similar ethnic situation and by comparison, has a slightly lower rate of international abductions, essentially the same problem.)

UK Police report on the handling of missing persons/abduction cases

The UK Police report on the handling of missing persons/abduction cases in UK, notes that the local UK police forces handle abductions differently and gather statistics on different criteria, so that it is not possible to have an accurate idea of how many abductions occur or how many are satisfactorily resolved. Presumably, this is because these issues don’t matter?

missing-children-and-adults-strategy

I have criticised the UK Government’s “paralysis by analysis” approach to managing child abduction, which could be described as Proactive Passive, or more kindly as Creative Inertia.

By comparison, the NZ Government:

1. does no research on protection of children from abduction,
2. doesn’t even incompetently gather data about child abductions,
3. doesn’t try to provide more effective border protections for children and
4. doesn’t pressure the familycaught$ to honour the legislation that it has passed into law for protection of children
5. insanely trusts the familycaught$ and funds it without competently managing its performance.

In my opinion, the NZ Government’s performance at protection of children from abduction could be described as “abduction as usual”, or as family destructive management.

Although the majority of families don’t personally suffer from abduction, they share in the financial costs that result through legal workers gaming the system.

Fear of child abduction also takes a toll on separated parents, especially those who live closest to its shadow. PaulM chose rational suicide, in a removal situation, that somewhat paralleled being left behind by child abduction.

Better that we face these risks and manage them better, particularly for the children’s benefit.

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