“I HAVE always said that I would walk to see my child if I had to. So that is exactly what I intend to do.”
That’s the determination of one parent to try and gain access to his daughter, and to raise the important awareness about parental child abduction.
Steven Monk-Dalton has now embarked on the walk of a lifetime; from Orihuela to London in a 44-day journey in support of UK charity Reunite International, which helps families affected by child abduction.
Steven has been planning the Walk Across Borders challenge since February this year and set off from the Orihuela Court on Sunday August 23. His epic 1,082-mile walk will take him north through Spain and France on to the UK, finishing at the Royal Court of Justice, London, in early October where around 30 people will join him in a demonstration.
Already Steven has raised around €1,700 and had support along the start of his journey as Alison Shalaby from Reunite joined him for the first few days of the walk along with volunteer Michelle from the One Day Closer charity shop Steven set up in Villamartin Plaza.
Maurizio Rigamonti flew over from Italy to drive the support car and follow Steven. He had his child returned home to Italy from America via the Hague Convention but is still denied any access to his son. Steven hopes more will join him at the various stages as he plans to walk a marathon a day, and this weekend he should be crossing through and stopping off at La Torre, Landete, Libros, Caude and Monreal del Campo.
Steven is raising money for the charity having been one of the thousands of parents who contacted them for help and advice after his daughter was taken back to the UK by her mother without his consent. It has been five years since he has had any contact with her and she turns 10 this month as Steven is on the walk. He said he had fought for years through the courts and even hired a private detective in the UK to track her down so he could at least know where she was.
Whilst he said the walk was very much about making sure his little girl would one day know she was never forgotten or abandoned by her father, it was about raising awareness for each and every one of the parents and family members who do not get to see a child and how he believed the system had failed them: “I have tried to do everything the right way and under the correct jurisdiction but they let you down, the system is broken. There are failures in the system that allows parental abduction to occur without deterrent or accountability.”
Steven added: “How can ‘parents’ be so cruel as to play God with their children’s lives in this way? It is like a living bereavement.”
For more information on Steven’s cause and follow his challenge or to make a donation, visit his blog at http://walkacrossborders.blogspot.com.es/ or search Walk Across Borders on Facebook.
The Reunite International Child Abduction Centre Charity reported over 17,000 calls through their advice line in 2014 alone.
There were 574 new abduction cases reported last year involving 827 children, involving 371 cases out of the UK and 147 cases in to the UK.
The charity operates a telephone advice line offering practical, impartial advice, information and support to parents, family members and guardians whose children have been abducted as well as information and advice to those who fear their child is at risk of abduction.
For more information visit www.reunite.org