Overseas child abduction

The Attorney-General's Department helps parents or guardians whose children are being retained in another country, by another person, without their consent.

Applications can be made to the department for grants to cover overseas legal and other costs for the return of children to Australia.

Who is eligible?

Assistance is available to people whose child has been either:

  • removed from Australia by another person without their consent, or
  • retained outside of Australia by another person without their consent.

Assistance is only available where the child:

  • is less than 16 years old, and
  • was habitually resident in Australia immediately before the removal or retention.

Funding will not generally be granted to persons who:

  • can meet the cost without incurring serious financial difficulty
  • do not have reasonable prospects of having a child returned to Australia
  • are eligible for legal assistance in the overseas country.

What assistance is available?

The department may cover:

  • the overseas legal cost of obtaining a court order for the return of a child to Australia
  • flights for the return of a child to Australia
  • flights for people who are required to attend overseas legal proceedings or to escort a child back to Australia.

The department cannot cover:

  • costs for access or visitation with a child
  • any Australian legal costs.

The department will not, generally, cover the cost of any legal fees or expenses incurred before an application is made.

How to apply

To apply, download the application form and the addition information form and email completed copies to finass@ag.gov.au with the required attachments.

If you cannot send your application by email, contact the Financial Assistance Section.

Assessment timeframe

Complete applications will be assessed within 28 days.

If your application is incomplete, you will be contacted for further information.


More information is available in the guidelines:

Monetary limits apply to certain disbursements. More information is available in the department's cost assessment policy: