Is verbal and physical violence a defence to proceedings for a return order for children under the Hague Convention?
Yes, it can be, where the violence is directed against the children. Violence against the abducting parent is not usually considered a defence, unless the spin-off on the children is very marked. Courts are very reluctant to accept 'grave risk' defences based on physical and emotional abuse and require clear and convincing evidence. They stress that a return order is to the home country, and does not transfer the child into the custody of the alleged abuser, that various orders can be granted in the home country to deal with abuse, and that visitation there can be supervised, if necessary.
Convention In Action