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Partition loophole failing abuse victims

13 November, 2007

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has said women seeking to escape from abusive relationships are being hampered by one of the anomalies of partition.

Ms Anderson said:

"A number of concerns have been raised with me by women's groups and victims of domestic violence regarding a piece of European legislation called the Hague Convention.

"This law is aimed at preventing estranged parents from removing their child or children from a jurisdiction without the other parent's consent.

"However, it is causing very serious problems locally because of the contradictions of partition.

"I am aware of cases in Derry where women who are trying to escape an abusive relationship have been prevented from returning to their families in the South because they have been threatened with the Hague Convention.

"These women couldn't even take their children to live in Donegal without the fear of being arrested and returned to Derry against their will.

"It is the same for women who have moved to live in the South. Effectively, they are trapped, unable to escape from an abusive partner and unable to return to be near their families.

"We in Sinn Féin are attempting to end this anomaly and I have tabled a motion before the Assembly calling on the North South Ministerial Council to examine ways of addressing this loophole through enhanced co-operation." ENDS

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