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Parents powerless to bring 14-year-old runaway home

FAMILY MATTER: Amanda Dawson is now looking at legal and political channels to help get her son back.
FAMILY MATTER: Amanda Dawson is now looking at legal and political channels to help get her son back.

"I JUST want to tell him I love him and miss him.”

A distraught Bundaberg mother says she and authorities are powerless to make her 14-year-old runaway son come home if he doesn't want to.

Amanda Dawson said her son ran away from home for the second time on April 7 after a fight about not taking out the rubbish.

Since then she has not seen him.

Mrs Dawson and her husband reported their son missing to police. They found him safe and well at another Bundaberg residence.

She now claims police can't make him come home.

Mrs Lawson says she has visited the address given to her by police on number of occasions but no one has answered her knocks.

She has rung and sent text messages to the people her son is reported to be staying with, and had no reply.

"I am not sure if they are getting my messages but I just want to tell him I love him and miss him,” Mrs Dawson said.

Mrs Dawson is now looking at legal and political channels to help get her son back.

She says parents of runaway children don't have any rights despite still being responsible for their care.

"It's just frustrating as a parent who has loved and nurtured a child and taught them right from wrong that there is nothing I can do to get them back,” Mrs Dawson said.

"Police have said there is no point - we can't bring him home kicking and screaming. They are saying he will just run away again.

"As parents we need our rights back. We need to be able to make him come home.”

She is now on a mission to tell politicians the legal system needs to be changed.

"There are so many caring parents of runaway children out there that can't get them back,” Mrs Dawson said.

"I could understand if I was the worst mother in the world, f I was a drug addict, prostitute or I beat them all the time, but I'm not.

"I'm a loving mum who just wants her son back.”

Charltons Lawyers partner Edwina Rowan said in Queensland there was an expectation children live with their legal guardian or parent until they turn 18 but this isn't specifically enshrined in law.

"If a child leaves home, it is open to the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability services and the police to investigate the child's reasons for leaving home but in deciding whether to intervene, or return the child, they will consider if the child is safe and has access to satisfactory financial support,” Ms Rowan said.

"Parents who have unilaterally had their children removed from their care can apply to the court under the Family Law Act 1975 for a recovery order.

"Recovery order is an order made by the court that can require the return of a child to the child's parent.

"A recovery order can also direct a person, usually the Australian Federal Police to stop and search any vehicle, vessel or aircraft, and to enter and search any premises or place, for the purpose of finding and recovering a child and the court can authorise the use of reasonable force to achieve an outcome where the child is returned.

"The court also has the power to make an order prohibiting a person from again removing or taking possession of the child.”



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