“Every Hague Convention Solicitor has at least one mother who was killed soon after a return.” #AHagueSolicitor
Cassandra Hasanovic was one of those mothers. She was killed soon after the Australian Judge ordered her out of Australia. She was stabbed to death in front of her mother and her children.
She had escaped to Australia because she was convinced she was going to die at the hands of her abuser. Her cries for help were ignored. The only avenue to debate a return order under the Hague Convention is to show that returning would be intolerable. However, this is a particularly difficult point to prove when Australian Judges do not recognise domestic violence and abuse as intolerable.
#HerHagueStory acknowledges that the Australian Government claims to have zero tolerance towards domestic violence and abuse towards mothers and children. But, this value is not being reflected during Hague proceedings.
Her children were ordered to return under the Hague Convention International agreement and, as all loving mothers do, she accompanied her children. She tried to keep them safe in the country of a man who terrified her - a man who had sexually assaulted and abused her.
#HerHagueStory believes that perpetrators of abuse should not be able to dictate where their victims live.
She had told police: "He said he was going to chop me up in little pieces and post me piece by piece to my family."
Cassandra was stabbed to death by her ex only hours after begging the British police to drive her to a safe house.
According to a British mediator, it is normal for Hague mothers in Britain to end up hiding in safe houses. Moreover, as the protection orders that the Australian Judge had provided Cassandra are not enforceable in Britain, or any other country, her mother had to drive her to the safe house instead of the police.
They never made it to the safe house. Her ex dragged her from the car and stabbed her to death in front of her mother and children.
Cassandra's mother, Mrs De Souza said that "Cassie was devastated when under the Hague convention she was ordered to return the boys to England,"
"This brutal, cruel and senseless act has torn our lives apart".
#HerHagueStory is calling on the government to make legislative changes.
Australia is a sovereign nation. So politicians can pass laws that acknowledge that domestic violence and abuse are reasons to remain in the safety of one's home country under Hague Convention proceedings.