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International Parental Child Abduction – Social Work Support

What is International Parental Child Abduction?

International Parental Child Abduction (or IPCA) occurs when a parent takes a child to another country without the other parent’s consent, or refuses to return a child from overseas after an agreed period. Cases of International Parental Child Abduction are not uncommon. In Australia, an estimated 3-4 children each week are abducted by a parent into or out of the country.

ISS Australia offers help to all parents and families affected by International Parental Child Abduction, with a focus on the best interests of the child and the utmost respect for the privacy and confidentiality of those we work with.

Our International Parental Child Abduction Social Work Support Service includes is a free national service funded by the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.

Our International Parental Child Abduction service includes:

  • Information, advice, support and referrals for families and professionals
  • Emotional support and short-term counselling
  • Practical support and information
  • Targeted referrals to assist with specific issues requiring long-term support
  • Coordination with other professional services according to clients’ needs
  • Community education and training to agencies and community groups
  • Advocacy and research regarding the concerns of families experiencing IPCA
  • Information for parents concerned about the risk of IPCA or considering international relocation
  • Assistance for parents experiencing family violence situations where there is a risk of IPCA

This service is provided Australia-wide and is free (funded by the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department).

ISS Australia also provides an International Parental Child Abduction Legal Assistance and International Family Mediation Service. Referrals to these services can be made at the request of clients.

Protection under International Law: the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention is an international treaty which aims to assist with the prompt return of children who have been wrongfully removed from, or retained outside, their country of habitual residence. The Convention only applies between signatory countries (including Australia).

For more information visit this website:

If a child has been taken to another country without your consent

In the case of an abduction to a Hague Convention country, there is a specific process to be undertaken through the Attorney General’s Department to seek the return of the child. If your child has been taken to a country which has not signed the Convention, a different process will be required to apply for return.

ISS Australia can advise on the best approach in a particular country.

Domestic Violence

One of the reasons a parent might want to leave Australia with their child is domestic violence. If you find yourself in this situation, there is significant support available for you and your children to remain safe, to help you leave the relationship and to remain in the country.

For more information and support contact ISS Australia’s International Parental Child Abduction Service on 1300 657 843

International Parental Child Abduction

Download our IPCA general information brochure here.

Download our IPCA Social Work Support Service brochure here.