The Australian government has proposed changes to that country’s existing law that enables a parent who kidnaps his or her own child to continue collecting child support from the child’s left-behind parent. Some say that the availability of child support can reward and even enable parental kidnapping. Others argue that compromising a child’s access to continuous support in order to punish or deter the abducting parent could deprive the child of critical food, shelter, medicine and other care. And, in some cases, the link between a parental abductor and the child support services office may be the sole means of locating the abductor and the missing child. Australia’s proposed amendment would allow the Australian family court to suspend child support payments if the Judge is satisfied that doing so serves the child’s best interests. Meanwhile, Aussies continue to debate whether to criminalize parental kidnapping or continue to address the problem under civil law.

READ MORE: Government closing in on parents that kidnap their own children, Herald Sun (September 19, 2011).