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We will publish specific laws some countries currently have to protect parents and children when it comes to maintaining relationships with paternal and wider family members.

UK Law

Section 76 Serious Crime Act 2015

Controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship
(1)A person (A) commits an offence if—

(a)A repeatedly or continuously engages in behaviour towards another person (B) that is controlling or coercive,

(b)at the time of the behaviour, A and B are personally connected,

(c)the behaviour has a serious effect on B, and

(d)A knows or ought to know that the behaviour will have a serious effect on B.

(2)A and B are “personally connected” if—

(a)A is in an intimate personal relationship with B, or

(b)A and B live together and—

(i)they are members of the same family, or

(ii)they have previously been in an intimate personal relationship with each other.

(3)But A does not commit an offence under this section if at the time of the behaviour in question—

(a)A has responsibility for B, for the purposes of Part 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (see section 17 of that Act), and

(b)B is under 16.

(4)A’s behaviour has a “serious effect” on B if—

(a)it causes B to fear, on at least two occasions, that violence will be used against B, or

(b)it causes B serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on B’s usual day-to-day activities.

(5)For the purposes of subsection (1)(d) A “ought to know” that which a reasonable person in possession of the same information would know.

(6)For the purposes of subsection (2)(b)(i) A and B are members of the same family if—

(a)they are, or have been, married to each other;

(b)they are, or have been, civil partners of each other;

(c)they are relatives;

(d)they have agreed to marry one another (whether or not the agreement has been terminated);

(e)they have entered into a civil partnership agreement (whether or not the agreement has been terminated);

(f)they are both parents of the same child;

(g)they have, or have had, parental responsibility for the same child.

(7)In subsection (6)—

“civil partnership agreement” has the meaning given by section 73 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004;
“child” means a person under the age of 18 years;
“parental responsibility” has the same meaning as in the Children Act 1989;
“relative” has the meaning given by section 63(1) of the Family Law Act 1996.
(8)In proceedings for an offence under this section it is a defence for A to show that—

(a)in engaging in the behaviour in question, A believed that he or she was acting in B’s best interests, and

(b)the behaviour was in all the circumstances reasonable.

(9)A is to be taken to have shown the facts mentioned in subsection (8) if—

(a)sufficient evidence of the facts is adduced to raise an issue with respect to them, and

(b)the contrary is not proved beyond reasonable doubt.

(10)The defence in subsection (8) is not available to A in relation to behaviour that causes B to fear that violence will be used against B.

(11)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or a fine, or both;

(b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or a fine, or both.

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Article 9

1. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately and a decision must be made as to the child's place of residence.

2. In any proceedings pursuant to paragraph 1 of the present article, all interested parties shall be given an opportunity to participate in the proceedings and make their views known.

3. States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child's best interests.

4. Where such separation results from any action initiated by a State Party, such as the detention, imprisonment, exile, deportation or death (including death arising from any cause while the person is in the custody of the State) of one or both parents or of the child, that State Party shall, upon request, provide the parents, the child or, if appropriate, another member of the family with the essential information concerning the whereabouts of the absent member(s) of the family unless the provision of the information would be detrimental to the well-being of the child. States Parties shall further ensure that the submission of such a request shall of itself entail no adverse consequences for the person(s) concerned.

Article 10

1. In accordance with the obligation of States Parties under article 9, paragraph 1, applications by a child or his or her parents to enter or leave a State Party for the purpose of family reunification shall be dealt with by States Parties in a positive, humane and expeditious manner. States Parties shall further ensure that the submission of such a request shall entail no adverse consequences for the applicants and for the members of their family.

2. A child whose parents reside in different States shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis, save in exceptional circumstances personal relations and direct contacts with both parents. Towards that end and in accordance with the obligation of States Parties under article 9, paragraph 1, States Parties shall respect the right of the child and his or her parents to leave any country, including their own, and to enter their own country. The right to leave any country shall be subject only to such restrictions as are prescribed by law and which are necessary to protect the national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Convention.

Article 11

1. States Parties shall take measures to combat the illicit transfer and non-return of children abroad.

2. To this end, States Parties shall promote the conclusion of bilateral or multilateral agreements or accession to existing agreements.

Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

Article 6 Human Rights Act 1998

Right to a fair trial

1 In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgement shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interest of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.

2 Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

3 Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:

(a)to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him;

(b)to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;

(c)to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing or, if he has not sufficient means to pay for legal assistance, to be given it free when the interests of justice so require;

(d)to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;

(e)to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court.

Article 8 Human Rights Act 1998

Article 8 protects your right to respect for private and family life, your home and correspondence.

What’s meant by private life?
Private life has a broad meaning. It means you have the right to live your life with privacy and without interference by the state. It covers things like:

your sexuality
your body
personal identity and how you look and dress
forming and maintaining relationships with other people
how you personal information is held and protected.
What’s meant by family life?
Family life includes the right to have and maintain family relationships. It covers your right not to be separated from your family and to maintain contact if your family is split up.

To decide if a relationship is covered by family life what matters is the closeness of the relationship rather than the legal status.

Relationships covered by family life include relationships between:

parents and their children, including illegitimate and adopted children
husband and wife as well as unmarried couples
siblings.
Same sex couples are protected under article 8 but their protection falls under their private life rather than family life.

What’s meant by home?
Your right to respect for your home doesn’t mean you have the right to housing but it protects the home you already have. It means public authorities mustn’t prevent you from entering or living in your home. You also have the right to enjoy your home peacefully without intrusion by a public authority.

A public authority may need to take positive steps so you can peacefully enjoy your home - for example, by reducing air craft noise or protect your home from serious pollution.

What’s meant by correspondence?
Correspondence includes things like:

letters
emails
fax
telephone

Equality Act 2010

The protected characteristics
The following characteristics are protected characteristics—

age;
disability;
gender reassignment;
marriage and civil partnership;
pregnancy and maternity;
race;
religion or belief;
sex;
sexual orientation.

5 Age
(1)In relation to the protected characteristic of age—

(a)a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a person of a particular age group;

(b)a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to persons of the same age group.

(2)A reference to an age group is a reference to a group of persons defined by reference to age, whether by reference to a particular age or to a range of ages.

6 Disability
(1)A person (P) has a disability if—

(a)P has a physical or mental impairment, and

(b)the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on P's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

(2)A reference to a disabled person is a reference to a person who has a disability.

(3)In relation to the protected characteristic of disability—

(a)a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a person who has a particular disability;

(b)a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to persons who have the same disability.

(4)This Act (except Part 12 and section 190) applies in relation to a person who has had a disability as it applies in relation to a person who has the disability; accordingly (except in that Part and that section)—

(a)a reference (however expressed) to a person who has a disability includes a reference to a person who has had the disability, and

(b)a reference (however expressed) to a person who does not have a disability includes a reference to a person who has not had the disability.

(5)A Minister of the Crown may issue guidance about matters to be taken into account in deciding any question for the purposes of subsection (1).

(6)Schedule 1 (disability: supplementary provision) has effect.

7 Gender reassignment
(1)A person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment if the person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person's sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.

(2)A reference to a transsexual person is a reference to a person who has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment.

(3)In relation to the protected characteristic of gender reassignment—

(a)a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a transsexual person;

(b)a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to transsexual persons.

8 Marriage and civil partnership
(1)A person has the protected characteristic of marriage and civil partnership if the person is married or is a civil partner.

(2)In relation to the protected characteristic of marriage and civil partnership—

(a)a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a person who is married or is a civil partner;

(b)a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to persons who are married or are civil partners.

9 Race
(1)Race includes—

(a)colour;

(b)nationality;

(c)ethnic or national origins.

(2)In relation to the protected characteristic of race—

(a)a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a person of a particular racial group;

(b)a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to persons of the same racial group.

(3)A racial group is a group of persons defined by reference to race; and a reference to a person's racial group is a reference to a racial group into which the person falls.

(4)The fact that a racial group comprises two or more distinct racial groups does not prevent it from constituting a particular racial group.

(5)A Minister of the Crown F1...—

(a)[F2must by order] amend this section so as to provide for caste to be an aspect of race;

(b)[F3may by order] amend this Act so as to provide for an exception to a provision of this Act to apply, or not to apply, to caste or to apply, or not to apply, to caste in specified circumstances.

(6)The power under section 207(4)(b), in its application to subsection (5), includes power to amend this Act.10 Religion or belief
(1)Religion means any religion and a reference to religion includes a reference to a lack of religion.

(2)Belief means any religious or philosophical belief and a reference to belief includes a reference to a lack of belief.

(3)In relation to the protected characteristic of religion or belief—

(a)a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a person of a particular religion or belief;

(b)a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to persons who are of the same religion or belief.

11 Sex
In relation to the protected characteristic of sex—

(a)a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a man or to a woman;

(b)a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to persons of the same sex.

12 Sexual orientation
(1)Sexual orientation means a person's sexual orientation towards—

(a)persons of the same sex,

(b)persons of the opposite sex, or

(c)persons of either sex.

(2)In relation to the protected characteristic of sexual orientation—

(a)a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a person who is of a particular sexual orientation;

(b)a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to persons who are of the same sexual orientation.

Perjury Act 1911

Perjury

(1)If any person lawfully sworn as a witness or as an interpreter in a judicial proceeding wilfully makes a statement material in that proceeding, which he knows to be false or does not believe to be true, he shall be guilty of perjury, and shall, on conviction thereof on indictment, be liable to penal servitude for a term not exceeding seven years, or to imprisonment . . . F1 for a term not exceeding two years, or to a fine or to both such penal servitude or imprisonment and fine.

(2)The expression “judicial proceeding” includes a proceeding before any court, tribunal, or person having by law power to hear, receive, and examine evidence on oath.

(3)Where a statement made for the purposes of a judicial proceeding is not made before the tribunal itself, but is made on oath before a person authorised by law to administer an oath to the person who makes the statement, and to record or authenticate the statement, it shall, for the purposes of this section, be treated as having been made in a judicial proceeding.

(4)A statement made by a person lawfully sworn in England for the purposes of a judicial proceeding—

(a)in another part of His Majesty’s dominions; or

(b)in a British tribunal lawfully constituted in any place by sea or land outside His Majesty’s dominions; or

(c)in a tribunal of any foreign state,

shall, for the purposes of this section, be treated as a statement made in a judicial proceeding in England.

(5)Where, for the purposes of a judicial proceeding in England, a person is lawfully sworn under the authority of an Act of Parliament—

(a)in any other part of His Majesty’s dominions; or

(b)before a British tribunal or a British officer in a foreign country, or within the jurisdiction of the Admiralty of England;

a statement made by such person so sworn as aforesaid (unless the Act of Parliament under which it was made otherwise specifically provides) shall be treated for the purposes of this section as having been made in the judicial proceeding in England for the purposes whereof it was made.

(6)The question whether a statement on which perjury is assigned was material is a question of law to be determined by the court of trial.