Fleeing for Safety: Representing Battered Respondents in International Child Abduction Cases Under the Hague Convention

This three-part webinar series will introduce civil attorneys to the primary challenges and issues that may arise when representing a battered respondent in a petition for return filed under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“Hague Convention”).  The first webinar will focus on how respondents can prepare a defense against the prima facie case established by petitioners under the Hague Convention.  The second webinar will explore the exceptions to return articulated under the Hague Convention, and offer attorneys information on how domestic violence relates to the Convention, as well as how to best preserve the record for appeal.  The third webinar in the series will provide background information on domestic violence, its impact on children and parents, and the effect of abduction on children living in situations of domestic violence.  

Part I: Questioning the Prima Facie Case: Habitual Residence & Rights of Custody

  • Thursday, April 16, 2020 (2:00-4:00 p.m. ET)
  • Presented by Pamela Brown & Joan Meier

If a petitioner fails to establish a prima facie case under the Hague Convention, then the Convention does not apply and the remedy of return is not available.  Participants will gain an overview of the key elements of the petitioner’s prima facie case and ways to challenge them.  This webinar will provide participants information on how domestic violence is relevant to these elements of the prima facie case, as well as offer specific case strategies for respondents’ attorneys.  

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Part II: The Respondent’s Defense: Exceptions to Return

  • Tuesday, May 19, 2020 (2:00-4:00 p.m. ET)
  • Presented by Maria Jose Vallejo & Merle Weiner

After a parent removes or retains a child across international borders, there are five exceptions to the otherwise mandatory return of a child under the Hague Convention.  In this webinar, participants will gain an overview of the exceptions to return under the Hague Convention, and learn strategies on how to best frame their arguments and protect their clients’ access to appeal.  

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Part III: The Effect of Domestic Violence on Children and Parents: The Experience of Battered Mothers and Children in Hague Cases

  • Thursday, June 25, 2020 (2:00-4:00 p.m. ET)
  • Presented by Pamela Brown, Jeffrey Edleson & Taryn Lindhorst

The Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty between 98 countries designed to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and secure the “prompt return” of abducted children.  This webinar will provide participants an overview of domestic violence and its impact on children and parents, how domestic violence overlaps with parental child abduction, and the experiences of battered mothers and their children in Hague cases.  Participants will gain understanding of tactics of power and control and the barriers facing battered mothers and children in these cases.  This webinar will also take a deeper dive into the grave risk of harm defense.

Download PowerPoint HERE

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This project was supported by Grant No. 2017-TA-AX-K020 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.