February 8, 2013

‘Bring Elsa Home’ fundraiser launched for abducted girl

Kate Banerjee, head of our Children Department, on BBC Breakfast with our client Naomi Button

In response to phenomenal support from the public and offers of financial help in the search for her daughter Elsa, our client Naomi Button’s has launched  a “Bring Elsa Home’’ Fundrazr Account this week to enable people to make financial donations if they wish.

These funds will be invaluable to widen the search in Egypt – enabling Naomi to fund investigations, pay search costs and cover the costs of media coverage in Egypt.  Donators will be updated regularly on how the funds are being used. In the event that there are funds remaining once Elsa has been returned home safely it is intended that those funds will be used to help locate other missing children who find themselves in a similar position to Elsa.

Elsa Salama turned six on 2 February and Naomi faces a second year without her daughter who was abducted by her father during a family holiday in Egypt in December 2011.  Tamer Salama remains in a UK jail for failing to reveal his daughter’s whereabouts.

Media interest in Naomi’s campaign continues with an exclusive interview for a women’s magazine due out later this month and interest from a national radio station.

Support for the campaign on social media continues to grow. There are now 3,500 ‘Likes’ on Naomi’s ‘Bring Elsa Home’ Facebook Page and several hundred people following her Twitter account @BringElsaHome.

Naomi’s campaign has also received support from Rachel Reeves, MP for Bramley, Leeds who met Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to seek further help from the Foreign Office to step up the search for Elsa.

Increase in parental child abduction cases

Sadly, cases of parental child abduction are on the increase. The Foreign Office’s Child Abduction Section is receiving an average of four calls per day and at Jones Myers, we are receiving an average of one enquiry per week.

Naomi’s plight has brought messages and social media posts from parents concerned about their own children –  these tips and advice from Kate Banerjee, head of our Children Department and a Member of the Child Care Panel, may help those concerned that their child is at risk.

Kate has a wealth of experience in representing parents, guardians, Local Authorities and children – here are some of her preventative tips

  • Apply to the Court for a Prohibited Steps Order (PSO); this prevents either parent from taking their children to any specific events or any trips without the express permission of the other parent.
  • Ensure that contact is supervised and in extreme cases, you may wish to stop contact altogether
  • Keep passports safe and consider depositing them with a solicitor
  • Contact the Passport Agency and ask them to block the other parent from applying for a new passport
  • Notify the school about who is allowed to collect your child from school
  • If you receive a threat of child abduction or if your child has been abducted: Contact the police immediately who can issue a port alert to airports and ferry terminals – A recent photo of your child and the other parent and details of the airport or destination you think they may be heading to will help the police to focus their search.
  • Contact Reunite, the UK’s International Child Abduction Charity which operates a 24 hour emergency helpline 0116 2556234
  • Seek legal advice immediately