contact when this will be likely to count against them in the almost inevitable return to the State of habitual residence. For those outside the scope of the Revised Brussels 11 Regulation, this issue may continue to cause concerns. However, for those abducting parents who manage successfully to hide the abducted child, such parental alienation will continue with the predictable agony for the left-behind parent and, usually, the abducted child.
All the interviewed parents believe that they have been adversely affected by the abduction experience,51 but most of those interviewed were unable or unwilling to contemplate the existence of effects from the abduction on the other parent. This may simply be a symptom of the acrimonious nature of the relationship breakdown and, in this respect, be no different from the behaviour of those involved in many cases of divorce and separation where no abduction is involved, each blaming the other, each unwilling to see the other side of the story. However, many of the interviewed parents spoke of the significant additional dimension that abduction brings to a separation or divorce. Greif’s findings in relation to how children fare post- divorce and post-abduction may be helpful in this regard. He found, 52 by comparison with another longitudinal study considering families 10 years after divorce, that the families of abducted children in his sample seemed to be doing worse than the divorce sample in the other study. The children in the abduction sample may be “doing worse” because of the additional burden placed on them by the abduction.54 It may therefore also be reasonable to deduce that the abduction experience adds a general layer to the effects felt by other separated or divorced parties and may account for the emotional 53
51 Greif reports, “Parental Report” supra at 68, that 40% of the respondents in his sample indicate that
they still experience rage an average of 10 years after the abduction, with a desire for revenge, depression and anxiety also present. He states, [t]he upshot is that the impact of the abductor and the abduction on the respondent and child .. continues for over a decade”.
52 53 “Parental Report” supra at 70. Wallerstein J, Blakeslee S: Second Chances: Men, Women and Children a decade after divorce. New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1989.
54 Greif concludes that the available research suggests that “the abduction experience, particularly when combined with a divorce or some other trauma, has the potential for significantly affecting normal development”. Treatment Implications For Adults Who Were Parentally Abducted When Young, Family Therapy, Volume 30, Number 3, 2003 at 153.