Afterword
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204 It is ten years later that I am now able to see light at the end of the tunnel; the light is still a ways away, but I can see it. I need to reflect on how we began this project and where we are headed in the future. The Hague Domestic Violence Project started at the Seattle University School of Law under the leadership of Dean Rudy Hasl, Professor Dave Beorner, and a wonderful law librarian, Bob Manteaux. In 2002 the initial listing of cases and resources was housed in the Access to Justice Institute, of which I was director at the time. The HagueDV Project would not have gone far if we had not received funding from Pearl Gipson, a program officer at the Washington State Office of Crime Victims Advocacy , who believed the issues surrounding Hague Convention cases were important , and wanted to help this group of battered mothers who, in desperately trying to protect their children, were willing to cross international borders. The information in this book would not be here were it not for the courageous battered mothers who were able to speak up, the volunteer law students in Seattle and Minnesota who helped locate these mothers’ cases, the wonderful Thomson Reuters FindLaw and Westlaw volunteers, the leadership at Seattle University, the Universities of Minnesota and Washington, and of course the team of researchers—Taryn Lindhorst, Jeffrey L. Edleson, Gita Mehrotra, Luz Lopez, and William Vesneski—for being steadfast in their belief that there are terrible, unintended consequences of the Hague Convention that needed to be investigated and now shared with others. This book is an affirmation to all those mothers who are considered child abductors under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction simply because they could not take the torture at home and crossed an international border to protect themselves and their children. They often feel alone, terrified, and crushed under the legal and financial implications of their decision. Sudha Shetty, Esq. Afterword Afterword  |  205 Much remains to be done, for we have really just started talking about these issues openly. This book goes to press at a critical moment. Several countries with large populations are contemplating joining this treaty. When they do, even more mothers will face Hague petitions if they endure situations such as those described in this book. There is an urgent need to educate lawyers, judges, and advocates in the United States and elsewhere to understand the complications of gender-based violence and its effects in Hague Conventions cases. Professor Edleson and I are fortunate to have recently received a technical assistance grant from the us Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women to start this educational process. This grant will allow us to develop new in-person, print, and online learning opportunities for lawyers, judges, and advocates working with or hearing cases involving battered mothers who are respondents to Hague petitions. The Hague Convention is a very important piece of international law. It creates protocols between countries for the safe return of a child after that child is taken from a resident country to another without the permission of a custodial parent. Something is wrong, however, when a mother and her children are placed in renewed danger by our courts because the Convention and those making judgments based on it are not flexible enough to take the necessary steps to protect these vulnerable adults and children. We hope this book, and our own and others’ future work on this issue, will shed new light on these unintended consequences of a well-meaning treaty and provide a path to greater safety for children and their courageous mothers. ...


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Subject Headings

  • Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980).
  • Parental kidnapping.
  • Abused women.
  • Family violence.
  • Custody of children.
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