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April 8, 2005

Merle Weiner on domestic violence and international child abduction

Domestic Violence and International Child Abduction
Merle Weiner Keynotes
Hague Convention Conference
 
UO law professor Merle Weiner, who coauthored the first textbook on international family law, will keynote an April 22 conference in Seattle on The Hague Convention, a 1980 act dealing with international child abduction.
 
Two  battered mothers who fled to Washington with their children and were then involved in Hague cases will present their stories. Following this, Weiner a leading authority on the Hague Convention and domestic violence, will review the problems and possibilities of the Convention.
 
This Hague Convention Symposium is sponsored by the Seattle University School of Law Access to Justice Institute. Attendees will discuss the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and its impact on battered mothers and their children seeking safety in the U.S. 
 
The Convention was drafted at The Hague, the Netherlands, in 1980 and put into effect in the U.S. through passage of the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA) passed by Congress in July 1988. 
 
Countries party to the Convention are expected to help quickly return abducted children to their country of habitual residence, where other issues, such as custody, can be resolved by local jurisdictions.
 
A surprisingly large number of international child abduction cases involve battered mothers who are fleeing from an abusive partner and seeking safety in the U.S. for themselves and their children.
These women have often sought help in another country to no avail and then fled to the U.S.
 
Yet the Hague Convention defines these mothers as the subject of prosecution and considerable governmental and non-governmental resources are devoted to removing the children from her custody and returning her children to the abuser’s country of residence, sometimes dooming these children and their mothers to years of continuing abuse.   
 
Merle H. Weiner is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Oregon School of Law in Eugene. She attained her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1990, an LL.M. from Cambridge University in 1988, and her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in1985.  Weiner teaches courses on Family Law, Domestic Violence, and Torts, and is a founder of the Lane County Domestic Violence Clinic.
 

She has written numerous articles on legal problems faced by

victims of domestic violence, including five articles on the application of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspect of International Child Abduction to battered women who are fleeing across national borders with their children. 
 
Weiner coauthored  Family Law in the World Community, the first casebook on the topic of comparative and international family law.  She is a member of the International Society of Family Law and is on the Executive Committee of the Lane County Domestic Violence Council.
 
Conference website

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