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Frequently Asked Questions

What types of families do you work with?

Assistance is provided to those who have been separated from family members as a consequence of international movement, which can include migration, divorce, asylum seeking, trafficking and parental abduction.

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How can I donate to ISS Australia?

You can donate to ISS Australia by completing a Membership/Donation form and sending it to us, or by calling the Victorian Office on 03 9614 8755.

All donations are tax deductible, and go directly to support the provision of services to clients in Australia.

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Does ISS Australia provide legal advice?

ISS Australia provides professional legal and social work services in International Parental Child Abduction cases. More information can be found in the ‘Our Services’ section of this website, or by calling 1300 657 843.

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Is it a crime to abduct or kidnap your child overseas?

Under Australian law, it is not a criminal offence to abduct your child overseas. However, if there are existing (or pending) court orders concerning the child and you take the child overseas without the consent of the other parent, you could face serious legal consequences.

International parental child abduction is a crime in some countries.

Even though it is not a crime in Australia, international parental child abduction can have a serious lasting impact on a child’s wellbeing.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction is an international convention that Australia has signed, along with many other countries. It provides a legal framework for the return of a child to their country of ‘habitual residence.’ For more information on the Convention, please follow this link.

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I want to go overseas with my child but the other parent won’t agree. Can ISS Australia help?

ISS Australia takes a mediation based approach to family issues across international borders. We can provide information and advice on the best way to negotiate an arrangement that keeps the best interests of the child in mind. We can assist the client to look at different options and provide advice on how to formalise any agreements about the child.

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Can ISS Australia arrange for an airport watch list order for a child?

No, this is an order obtained through the family court. ISS Australia can explain how the order works and the process in seeking such an order.

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Do you search for birth parents in Australia?

ISS Australia conducts tracing when one party is in another country. If you are in Australia, and you believe the family member you are looking for is in Australia, you can contact the Salvation Army for tracing assistance. If you believe the family member is in another country, you can contact ISS Australia for assistance.

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How long does it take to trace a family member overseas?

Many factors influence how long a tracing case may take, and there is no guarantee that the sought person will be located. The amount and accuracy of information available, and the resources in the other country might influence the length of the case. Your ISS Australia social worker will keep you updated throughout the case.

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Why are some ISS Australia services free but others involve a fee?

Some of ISS Australia’s services are free because they are funded by the government. Other services are not funded, therefore ISS Australia needs to charge fees in order to deliver the service.

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I am in another country and I need help with a family issue in Australia. Who should I contact?

You should contact the ISS representative in your country, and they can make a referral to ISS Australia. Please click on this link for a list of ISS representatives worldwide.

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I am a birth parent living in Australia, who placed a child for adoption in the UK. Can you assist me in searching for my child?

Unfortunately the UK Adoption Act 2002 only permits UK based agencies to receive birth information about adopted persons. ISS Australia can provide information about agencies in the UK that can assist you to obtain this information.

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What is ISS Australia’s relationship with the global International Social Service network?

ISS Australia is an independent Australian organisation (legally, a not for profit company limited by guarantee) governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. It is a member of the International Social Service (ISS) network. The global ISS network is represented in some form in over 130 countries worldwide. ISS’s International Council (IC) or top decision-making body meets every two years. Between IC meetings, the network is governed by its Governing Board (GB), headed by an International President. The GB is assisted in its role by the Professional Advisory Committee (PAC), made up of the Executive Directors (CEOs or equivalents) of each network member; the PAC Chair sits on the Governing Board as a full voting member. The PAC works closely with the network’s General Secretariat, based in Geneva and headed by the ISS Secretary-General.