Hague Child Abduction - Include Domestic Violence as a Defence.

Hague Child Abduction - Include Domestic Violence as a Defence.

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Angelique Ferra started this petition

In my life I had been a successful entrepreneur, I had worked extremely hard and built 2 businesses, had 2 beautiful homes, elite cars and savings in the bank.   This was until I met my abuser and endured the family court that he used to destroy 30 years of hard work.

During my pregnancy in 2014 I suffered multiple occasions of domestic abuse by my former partner Daniel Williamson (a known children's author).  Once my daughter was born the violence, abuse, isolation and intimidation became much worse and resulted in his arrest on 14th March 2015.

Despite his admittance to the physical violence that led to his arrest he was shockingly acquitted by a magistrate as he downplayed the attack to a minor scuffle, his £4000 barrister had succeeded in creating enough uncertainty that led to him walking out of the court room with not so much as a tap on the wrist but ensured that I would never again be trusted in any further allegations against him.

This decision was the worst day of my life as it opened the floodgates for him to use the family court as a weapon and to continue his abuse on my little girl with impunity.

We then suffered 6 years of over 20 family court hearings, all containing repeated false allegations of denied contact which is on the respondent to prove otherwise.  The repeated false allegations were permitted to be used because there is no perjury in the family court.  The mere fact that 20 hearings later I was still the primary carer for my daughter should have shown the family court a pattern of abuse.  However, instead of judges seeing what was abundantly staring them in the face they almost always referred to my 'alleged false allegations' of domestic violence for which he was found not guilty.

I was forced to sell my home, my car and any other assets to pay for the extortionate legal costs (mothers don't get legal aid).  All the while he hugely underdeclared his income to HMRC to evade child support and dragged me back to court over and over.  My business suffered to the point of almost bankruptcy and we were forced to move into my elderly mothers home.

I had lost everything, he had hunted me to destruction and there were no laws to prevent this.  In 2019 I was diagnosed with PTSD which was directly attributed to Daniel Williamson's continued abuse and the repeated family court hearings I was forced to finance and attend.

Daniel continued to abuse my daughter by not feeding her and locking her in cupboards, but due to that initial domestic violence court hearing any allegations I raised against Daniel were immediately disbelieved and thrown out.

In September 2020, I begged Judge Madelaine Reardon of East London Family court to place a barring order on Daniel to allow me time to breath, heal and somehow rebuild my finances to simply live, she declined my plea and instead ordered that I move back to the jurisdiction of my daughters school otherwise I was to handover residency of my daughter to our abuser.

With no way to move back to the jurisdiction of the school and minimal funds to continue fighting I was left with no choice but to flee the United Kingdom, so on 5th November 2020 I boarded a plane with my daughter and left for good.

I was forced to go to a country that does not recognise the UK within the Hague.  The reason is that there is currently no defence permitted for a mother who fleas domestic violence and the family court as a weapon of financial destruction under Article 13 of the Hague Child Abduction.

This is despite it being known that domestic violence may be present in about 70% of parental child abduction cases. 

The Hague's Practical Handbook refers only to the ‘safe return of the child’, In domestic violence situations protective measures for the mother serve also the protection of the child from the grave risk of psychological harm or other intolerable situation, but yet there is no protection for a mother who has fled to protect her child.

A study in 2021 which looked at domestic abuse and international parental abduction by mothers wrote:

It is imperative that Hague Convention return courts recognise that, in cases involving domestic violence, the circumstances of the abducting mother and the child may be intertwined to the extent that domestic violence perpetrated solely against the mother may justify the finding that the return would expose the child to a grave risk of psychological harm or other intolerable situation pursuant to Article 13.

Where the court is assessing the grave risk of harm on the basis of domestic violence perpetrated primarily on the abducting mother, in protecting the well-being of the child the court is compelled to protect the abducting mother so that the child may benefit from the safeguards afforded to that mother.

But despite this, mothers who return to the UK are subjected to their children being taken from them and their parental responsibility removed entirely.

This must stop, the Hague must recognise that the laws in the UK preventing the press from informing the public of the atrocities which are happening are directly causing harm to the children involved and that mothers who have made allegations of domestic abuse within the UK must be protected from being returned.

Please sign to petition the Hague to include an additional defence under section 13 of parental child abduction for mothers who are fleeing domestic abuse either from the partner left behind or by the abuse caused through the family courts.



637 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!
At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!