Sally Faulkner: Victim of Domestic Violence

Sally Faulkner Photo

As a nation, Australia has come a long way in its understanding of, and lack of tolerance for domestic violence. The tireless campaign by Rosie Batty has been a huge part of this. There have been major steps forward in police procedures to deal with domestic violence cases, in urging women to report abuse and in training the media how to speak about such violence. There’s a long way to go, but any improvement should be welcomed. As a nation we are growing up. However, I can’t help but think the recent reporting of the Sally Faulkner child custody case is an example of a lack of willingness to call a spade a spade when it comes to a very common type of domestic violence: psychological and emotional abuse.

It became obvious to me soon after becoming a parent that the worst thing that could ever happen to me would be to lose my child. Just the thought of something happening to my daughter makes me flush with fear. A close second fear behind my child being killed or badly injured is the idea of her being taken away from me.

In an interview on The Project, Sally Faulkner’s ex-husband Ali Elamine, the father of her children, explained that he chose not to return his children to their home in Australia after what he agreed was to be a holiday in Lebanon because he wasn’t happy about Sally’s new relationship. Let’s call a spade a spade. Ali was jealous. And he had the perfect way to enact revenge – denying Sally her children.

Ali has never accused Sally of being a bad parent, and has never said he’s keeping the children from her for their own safety or for their wellbeing. He’s even admitted his children miss their mother, and callously, said the time difference between Lebanon and Australia has made it easier to get away with keeping them apart. Let that settle for a second. This man is masterminding a situation where his 6 year old daughter and 4 year old son, children well old enough to feel deep fear and devastation over the loss of their mother, are being purposely separated from her, in order to hurt her for having a new relationship. The children are not just missing out on a relationship with their mother, but also their new sibling, a 3 month old baby they haven’t met and no doubt extended family and friends in Australia. And what about their schooling? Do they speak Lebanese? Their grandmother and a maid, who they were in the care of when they were taken off the street, didn’t appear to speak English. What is life like for these children in Beirut, without their mother, in the care of a manipulative father, who cares more about hurting his ex-wife than showing a base-standard level of care and understanding for the love his children feel for their mother?

Please explain to me how Ali’s action don’t constitute domestic violence of the worse kind? More spade-calling: Ali is abusing his ex-wife and abusing his children. But I haven’t once seen a single media report using the phrase ‘domestic violence’ to call this out. Instead, Ali is given a platform in numerous media interviews to turn himself into the victim. It’s as if everyone who has spoken to him is being really careful not to offend him. The abuser. And now Sally’s had to give up the rights she had to custody, in order to be reunited with her three month old baby in Australia, to get out of prison. As punishment for trying to get her children back, she’s lost them again. Now that Ali has his way, and has custody in Lebanon, he is holding this over Sally, acting like a hero by promising that maybe in the future, she might get a chance to see her children, but it’s up to him. Maybe in a few years. He’s in control. What? Seriously people. What the actual?

Of course the whole situation is messy; there are layer upon layers of moral, ethical and practical problems that have resulted in this situation. On top of the fact that any martial relationship breakdown is difficult, you have different cultures and religion at play; Sally has full custody of the children Australia, and Ali has a Shia religious court order granting him custody in Lebanon. Channel 9 has made things messier by getting involved, and now the whole operation is framed as a ‘botched kidnapping’ and Sally is somehow one of the villains. I don’t care if the situation was reversed, and it was a mother taking her children from their father and refusing him contact. I don’t care if it’s a Lebanese family hiding out in Australia, using Australian laws to block the other parent’s access. I don’t care what some patriarchal religious court has to say about the whole thing. I don’t care who paid who to do what, who got involved, who was reading whose emails, that Ali likes to surf (?) and whether he has, disgustingly, profited from the whole affair. I care about the right a woman has to her children, and the right those children have to their mother.

Just like in the case of domestic violence when a man physically beats his wife, the only way we can truly remove the little contradictions in our minds when we hear ourselves thinking ‘why didn’t she leave’, ‘what did she do to deserve this’, ‘maybe she should stop nagging him’ and all the other excuses we, as a society, make for the man, and use to blame-shift just ever so slightly to the woman, is to think of how we would react if it was a stranger giving that woman a black eye and sending her to the emergency room to have her lip stitched. What if Sally Faulkner’s children were taken by a stranger and she couldn’t make contact with them, she could no longer tell them she loves them, give them a cuddle and read them a story and drop them off at school and laugh with them, and buy them ice-cream, and you know, have a relationship with them. Would the media pussy-foot around calling her act of desperation a crime of kidnapping, and framing Sally as the villain if she was trying to reunite herself with her children having been separated from them by someone other than their father and her ex-husband? What difference does it make that this is a domestic situation, rather than a random kidnapping? The result is the same. The hurt is the same.

Yes, Ali is their father just as much as Sally is their mother, so you would think he might understand how desperately devastating it would be to have them taken away from him. Apparently revenge is more important to him than love. Has anyone interviewing him asked him what has motivated such hatred? Has anyone asked him to reflect on the children’s welfare? I’ve heard people say ‘it’s a private matter’, or ‘there are two sides to every story’. Don’t these sound exactly like the excuses we have been using as a society forever to ignore physical domestic violence, as an excuse not to get involved?

At the end of the day, underneath these layers of media intrigue in the various intricacies of the whole affair, is an abused woman and her children. Sally is understandably desperate to do literally anything to see her children. Of course she is. If someone stole my daughter away from me, I would lose my mind. I would do anything within my power, within the bounds of my control, absolutely anything to get my child back. Sally is the victim of an act of selfish, conniving, jealous, vindictive, controlling, heartless, manipulative, cruel domestic violence. And so are her children. How about we talk about the story from this frame, and as a society, work productively towards stopping this type of violence occurring?


  1. Thank you Victoria. You have put into words exactly what I’ve been feeling and thinking since this incident unfolded. I would love it if someone were to confront Ali in just such a manner and as you say, call a spade a spade. His actions are completely unconscionable and to think he has profited from this just makes me sick and even angrier.

    • So many emotions run through me when I heard about this story – none of them good – mostly so angry. But being someone who has suffered from emotional and psychological abuse I immediately recognised what this was – domestic violence. And it’s the kind a lot of people don’t recognise as domestic violence. I feel so sorry for Sally Faulkner – imagine being denied access to the babies you gave birth to and love so much.

      Karma will happen for Ali Elamine even though he doesn’t have a conscience.

  2. Hello Victoria,,,

    I am a subscriber to The AIM Network, and have notification of the updates delivered direct to my RSS feed. Your articles are a significant reason why I do this.

    Today, I received notification about your Sally Faulkner article, and clicked on the accompanying link to read it. I was taken, as usual , to The AIM Network site, but your article was nowhere to be found. I searched the site to no avail.

    Now, I do not give up easily, and I Googled Victoria Rollison. Obviously, I was successful. Here I am. May I ask what has happened? Is this a temporary glitch, or shall I need to subscribe to your site to continue to enjoy your musings.



  3. Too true Victoria. Ali a bully but no one had the gumption to call him that. The sad fact is that children are pretty clever, and see through people. They already were nearly abducted again so they must know their mum is trying to get them back. If they don’t already, they will hate him. So he’ll lose all the way around. The saddest thing is men like that soon lose interest when they have more children. What’s the betting he discards those kids just as soon as he makes another woman pregnant?

  4. So this Muslim defies Australian law, kidnaps his children and takes them to a Muslim country where Sharia Law is the only law in town, they recognize no other. So the mother feeling she has been wronged (quite correctly) tries to reclaim ‘her’ children, the children ‘she’ gave birth to and she is charged with ‘kidnap’. Since Islam has a very low opinion of women the chances of getting her children back are nil, and to save her own life she has to sign away custody, and Australia’s weak-kneed LNP government says absolutely nothing. Please Aussie women be warned, don’t marry a Muslim!

    • He did not break Australian law, and why isn’t he allowed to be jealous when his wife is screwing around and having another child by another man while she is married to him. This crap of poor widdle victim women all the time drives me crazy when the people writing the crap seem to forget she was getting court orders to keep Ali entirely out of the childrens lives.

      Why do so many display their ignorance and think they have the right to make claims and statements that are not true.

      Tell us truly, how many of us think it is OK to hire criminals to snatch innocent kids off the streets, pistol whip their grand ma and then play the victim.

      And Townsville blog, your racist bigotry shines through yet again.
      The reality is if the father had affairs and children with other women he would be condemned so why do you think it’s OK for Sally to do it?

      And Sharia law is not the only law in Lebanon, most of the country is Christian with ordinary laws.

      • How is he not breaking Australian law if she had full custody and he took them overseas and refused to return them?

        Does it really matter that she has another partner? Whether he cheated, she cheated or nobody did, why does it matter? Vengeful, hatred filled and controlling behaviour motivated him. He took them overseas and refused to return them as payback because he did not want them to live with her and her new partner. This is definitely an “if I can’t have you, then you can’t have them” scenario. Jealous, vindictive and manipulative behaviour. Psychologically damaging for the children.

        If there are court orders preventing him from seeing the children, why? Court orders are not granted lightly.

        I don’t condone what was done but I understand the motive. As a mother there is nothing I would not do to get my child back if she had ever been taken from me.

      • Did you know she had filed for divorce but he wouldn’t sign the papers? Might want to get your facts right? It’s hardly having an affair when you have filed for divorce

      • She didnt cheat on anyone. They had been separated for 2 years when she found another partner. Ali lived in Lebanon and visited occasionally.

  5. Actually the domestic violence has been from our media, Channel 9 and others using her problems to gain ratings and exploit her.

    • Get yourself an education on domestic or family violence. This depraved act is intended to manipulate, harm, humiliate and hurt one person. Sally. Sadly for those babes it majorly hurts them too. This is cut and dry domestuc violence. That man is a disgusting pig who couldnt give two shits about those children. His mother and a stranger maid look after them. Its wrong. As said in the article he cares more about hurting their mother than he does about the children. They will be back in their mothers arms as soon as they are old enough.

      I also hope she seeks legal aid. We do not recognise Shia Law so she shouldnt have to drop her custody here. The courts should refuse that.

      • She won’t get legal aid. Not for a custody dispute when there is no police record of abuse of the children. Especially after this little stunt, or the fee she would have received from 60 Mistakes.
        Back in their mother’s arms? They’re likely to leave him, but they won’t run to her. Not after everything she’s put them through and then let them go the second it meant her freedom.

        Any teens going to a similar situation with their parents fighting over them for their own agendas, please visit your local police station or youth centre for information on assistance in your area. Whether you need counselling, a youth refuge, legal help or simply a friendly ear, services are very good for teens and children, because authorities know how much parents can screw up their kids, and that troubled kids can become troubled adults.

  6. Child custody battles are messy and emotional. As I understand it the father did not have Australian residency and was not allowed to work in Australia. His wife was awarded full custody in his absence. How would we see this if the roles had been reversed and Sally Faulkner was a man, whose wife was not an Australian resident and had to leave the country without her children. Would we accept a father in a new relationship with a new baby had a right to full custody of the two children from a previous marriage. Domestic violence is a serious issue but if we say every messy, badly managed marriage breakdown is a case of a male domestic violence and coercive control it diminishes the serious cases where women and children are at real risk. I don’t know all the details of this case but nobody else seems to either. Children want to see both their parents. It may be the children are at risk from their new stepfather. Ali could well have been jealous but any normal person probably would be in that situation with no custodial rights and your former partner in a new relationship with a baby on the way.

    • Elizabeth, that is just the thing the roles are not reversed, the Court granted Sally sole custody, that is a fact, just as the LNP are pulling a billion dollars out of public dentistry is a fact (now if the roles were reversed…)

      • The Australian court granted Sally sole custody 2 months after the Lebanese courts granted the father sole custody… Let that sink in for a moment.

      • Townsvilleblog, I call bullshit.
        You’re a troll trying to gain attention.
        The fact that you have brought up politics and DENTISTRY is what I cite as my supporting evidence. You are all over here throwing inflammatory one liners at people but really not saying anything. Now you bring up other contentious issues that have nothing to do with the subject.

    • Low blow Elizabeth. The step dad is now some sort of potential monster. You need you head read. Clearly your normal meter is broken. These kids are at great risk in Lebanon. End of .

      • Fathers,Given that the children were born in Australia,It is irrelevant when the Lebanese courts granted the father custody.

      • Your words might be taken with more weight in a debate if a) you didn’t resort to juvenile one liners, and b) you were brave enough to even put a first name to your comments. Just because you make your loose shadow of an argument with what you and Townsvilleblog consider to be witty one liners, doesn’t mean you are correct or even making sense. Elizabeth has made a concise and well explained argument, whether you agree with her or not.
        I actually think you ARE Townsvilleblog, trying to make it appear as if you have ‘supporters’ for when you post this to your blog you keep banging on about.

    • There is now way that the Australian Family Court would have awarded her sole custody if there were issues with her be partner.

  7. Articles have pointed out that Ali Elamine is well connected to Lebanese people of importance.Do they really totally support him not returning the children to their mother? I would hope they talk sense into him as they must be very embarrased at his behaviour and all of this publicity which has actually created a huge amount of support for Sally Faulkner and the children..Being raised by his mother and a nanny who don’t even speak English while Ali is off surfing is less than ideal. I feel so sorry for those dear little children who have made it clear that they don’t want to be there and they are missing their mother terribly. Ali will be better thought of if he returns the children to their mother before they are damaged further.

  8. Above article should have said he is well connected to Lebanese people of importance who are well educated.Do they really support him in taking the children from their mother?
    Perhaps they feel embarrassment . Many Lebanese people think he hadn’t done the right thing.

  9. As a parent whose child actually WAS abducted, this woman leaves me fuming. My husband was psychologically abusive, then took off with her to the other side of the state in response to me starting a new life. Here comes the difference though, I was never dumb enough to sign for a passport for her, even when things were good. And while I was perfectly within my right to go and take her out of school, and bring her back, I didn’t, because my child is NOT A PAWN and I refuse to serve my own needs at her expense. That would make me as bad as him, and this child needs stability in her life. It’s called sacrifice, and any good parent will lose whatever they need to in order to give their child a normal, calm life.
    These kids would now be dealing with the fallout of being snatched from the street, and when they are old enough to understand, they will see that they were of the utmost importance – until she was brought in for what she did, then she signed them away for her freedom.
    Mother of the year? I’ll wake up a size eight before she earns that.
    Psychologically abused? Maybe, but she’s now inflicted a similar pain on her kids.
    Self indulgent excuse for a parent who threw everyone – including her children – under the bus in order to serve her own purpose? Absolutely.

    • Does anybody know if this was an abusive relationship? There doesn’t seem to be that many facts out there to support this. Sally was happily in a new relationship, there is nothing to suggest her previous relationship was violent. Her ex-husband was not an Australian resident and was unable to work in Australia. If his wife was awarded full custody in absentia I blame the courts. The children have a right to a relationship with both parents, Ali should have been given the opportunity to stay in Australia and share custody of his children. I don’t know how chill I’d be if I had to give up custody of my children to an ex-partner and a new step-parent in another country.

      • Hethah and Elizabeth, I appreciate the effort you have put into questioning this whole saga. I believe your questions are the questions more of use should be asking.

        Hethah, you make a very good point about a child’s stability in cases of custody dispute and where one parent takes the child away from the other parent.

        You are exactly right that its about the child and the stability, safety and love the child can be given by the parent that is caring for the child.

        Its very true that in cases like this one of Ali and Sally, that a parent needs to be considering the childs wellbeing. I think its evident that Sally was not initially concerned for her childrens safety in Lebanon, otherwise she would never have sent the children to Lebanon for the ‘holiday’. There is immediate grounds to question her decision making on those grounds alone. That said, even if she felt that the father Ali, because he is from Lebanon has familiarity there and therefore a sense of safety maybe greater, its still a dubious decision to allow the children to go there given the alledged car bombings and reasons why Sally returned from Lebanon in the first place.

        All that aside, the stability of the children, its possible it could have been considered that their father is capable of providing the stability any child needs. In the face of massive risk to try and snatch the children back by Sally, she may have been better to not attempt that snatch at all…. the consequenses are too great and jepodise the childrens immediate safety and emotional wellbeing. On this occasion she failed and has placed the children in the line of physical harm and definately placed emotional stress on them. Had Sally applied alittle of that personal sacrifice that Hethah refers too, perhaps Sally could have worked towards a safer way to be reunited with her children. Afterall, she had had apparently good communicarion with Ali, enough to have him visit the children in Australia and enough for her to allow them to travel to Lebanon. A safer way towards shared care of the children would have meant a great level of emotional care for the children and a more open and communicative set of parents for the children leading too clearer lines of stability for the children.

        PS I would like to acknowledge the responders that think their ‘one-liner, anonymous and unsubstantiated, and rhetorical statements’ are moments to be proud because they are not. I dont understand how you think your comments to be worthwhile typing whatsoever. You offer only a absolute blunt reverse opinion with no rebuttal and no intelligent conversation of a topic which is not a ‘black and white’ scenario. It is full of grey and requires an objective mind, not one-liner feedback that is nothing but rude, stubborn and biased.

      • A very very ambiguous comment that doesn’t really convey any message….exactly what are you trying to say?
        If you’re referring to my comment, I have one question – have you had your child’s other parent disappear with your child and end up with your child out of your life longer than they were in it? Have you made the sacrifice to leave that child be for their own stability?

  10. Whether this man had been previously an abuser is totally irrelevant. The control that he is exhibiting over Sally by preventing her seeing her children is absolutely domestic violence. He is attempting to control her emotional well being through the one thing that he knows will hurt her the most. These children have a right to know both parents. Taking them into a foreign country into a new situation, with a different language, different schools, no familiar supports around them etc. is very very likely to leave a life long emotional resentment toward their father in the future. Should Sally not have tried to gain care of her children, they may have also been left wondering ‘didn’t mum care enough to try?’. I absolutely would do everything in my power if anyone would ever take my children away from me. Sally’s partner is in the wrong in every single way. Empathy from some of those commenting on this article would not go astray. The children’s well being is absolutely being denied at this time by the father, who is acting upon selfish intentions. That being to gain revenge at Sally. And for the sake of the children especially, this is not okay.

    • Sorry to disagree Leah, and dont get me wrong, the children are better off in Australia BUT the mother has put the wellbeing of the children at stake but allowing them to travel to Lebanon for a holiday. Consider her thought processes and actions and consider the facts, Lebanon not part of Hague Convention. Lebanon is highly volatile (she returned due to claims car bombings were too dangerous) yet she coincidentally at the time of the kids holiday has a new born to a new partner. She has put her own needs ahead of the 4 and 6 year and therefore jepordised their safety. Again, I stress I agree the kids should be in Australia. I dont agree that a mother necassirly has anymore rights than a father. Kids need both parents, and there are no substantiated claims of domestic voilence. Statements about him being controlling are baseless and a massive stretch to label him as a domestic voilence type or ‘abuser’. If anything, neither her or she has said anything derogatory about the other. That in its self says he and she alike have shown great personal restraint, given the highly emotional times they are both going through. A lesser man (or women) would be blurting out hurtful statements about the other whenever there was a chance to defame or shame the other, neither has done that. So please explainn how this man is a DV type and how this man is controlling? At the end of the day, he believed the kids were better off with him, just as the mother feels about herself. Neither is better or worse then the other if its a battle of the sexes. But I believe is more about the wellbeing of the kids and the mother had full care of them (whether that was legally inforceable or not we dont know) but she had them and made a highly irresponsible decision in sending them to Lebanon.

      • My understanding, and correct me if you find something to show that I am wrong, is that he and she had essentially worked about an agreed arrangement, which provided him with access to the kids. He kidnapped the kids (and keeping kids from the primary custodial parent is kidnapping) in May last year, nearly 12 months ago. According to my calculations, if she has a 12 week old now, she would have been barely pregnant then. So she is being punished for actually being a good mum, and too trusting – allowing her ex to have access to the kids instead of treating him like a ‘possible criminal ex’, which so many man (some rightly, some wrongly) complain about being treated. So she trusted him, and he screwed her (and the kids) over. As someone who has come from a country where bombs explode and people carry big gums – you don’t want to raise your kid there deliberately – its not healthy. She obviously made the wrong decision trusting him, but is seems she came from a basis of wanting her kids and ex to have a good relationship. He may have believed the kids were better off with him, but he has deliberately removed and withheld access to them, where as she provided access. The is the big teller about his attitude and motivation. He hasn’t withheld access because she was a horrible person, he has withheld access because he wanted to and he could. That’s controlling.

      • Deb, as someone who has actually had this happen to me, I can say from a more informed view that unless those children are in immediate danger, a real parent makes the sacrifice to give their children stability. My daughter was taken in 2008. I found her in 2011 and made the heart breaking decision NOT to abduct her back, because she is NOT A PAWN. My pain is irrelevant. Her best interest is paramount.
        Life is not fair. Sometimes you have to put your own agenda aside for the well being of someone you love. You do it and hope that when those children are adults they look back and see who wrecked their lives and who made the ultimate sacrifice for them.
        What you DONT do is sell your story to a poor excuse for a journalist, terrorise those children you claim to love so much, then sign them away to save your own sorry ass when you’re called in for your actions.

  11. Im 50 n still we have domestic violence. My soul bruises for sally n her two other kids n all victims of this crime. It is never love.How cruel he is. I would call him a nale because a man would never behave like this.

  12. Seriously biased ‘reporting’ in this article. Unsubstantiated domestic violence and at worst a massive stretch to call his actions domestic violence. This article and its author is serving its own agenda and propagating a negative image of males and in particular fathers.
    Let me be clear, there is reasonable grounds for why the children are better off in Australia vs Lebanon. That much we know from the unrest in Lebanon and proximity to Syria etc. Even by the mothers own accounts, ‘Car bombings’ in Beirut made life there too dangerous.
    Before framing the mothers actions as morally superior and the fathers actions are abhorrent, ask yourself this question, ‘Why is any mother seen as a hero to go to the ends of the earth and do ‘anything’ to get their kids back?, but when a father does the same, which is all that this father has done (which is anything to have his kids by his side) seen as a criminal, a bad father, or at the very least seen in a negative light?

    We have very little evidence or insight as to why he kept the children in Lebanon against their mothers wishes. We do know she sent the kids willingly to him for a 2 or 3 week holiday. We know she has a new partner and a newborn at the time of the children’s holiday.

    Before anyone runs off with ideas and accusations towards the father as being a ‘kidnapper’ we need to know some facts. Did the mother have a Consent or Parenting Order through the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court? There are very wild unsubstantiated claims she has ‘Full Custody’ but I have only seen this reported 3rd hand. The mother is not wielding her Parenting or Consent Orders in the media or at the father to shame the father in to returning the children, which would be the most methodical way for getting the children back to Australia.

    The question must be asked of the mothers actions. Why did she allow a 4 and 6 year old to go on holiday with their father to Lebanon. A country which is highly volatile and seen in Australian eyes as a dangerous country? Refer to Smart Traveller to verify the Australian government position on travel to Lebanon. It highly advises any travel be reconsidered. We know that the mother thought Beirut to be dangerous, which are her alleged reasons for returning from Beirut to live in Brisbane. But, when it came to her 4 and 6 year old children, she allowed them to travel there with an estranged husband.

    It does not take a rocket scientist to consider the possibility that he may not return the children. It is also not hard to determine that Lebanon is not part of the Hague Convention. So even if she had the slightest of doubts, she should NEVER have allowed the children to go to Lebanon, at least not without her to accompany them. Even if the father did have the fullest intention to return the children, Beirut is still an unsafe city, at least in the eyes of the mother (her previous statements about Beirut) and widely known in the international community as a volatile country and city.

    Why did the mother allow her children to go in the first instance? Regardless of custody orders, she still allowed a 4 and 6 year old to go to a potentially dangerous city with an estranged husband and stay with a family that according to sources ‘only speak Lebanese’. In all of this the mother has not protected her children appropriately.

    According to the author’s logic, wouldn’t the mother’s actions constitute ‘domestic violence’ toward the children? At the very least I feel that this mother has been highly negligent and selfish with regard to her children. When we consider she has a new partner and child at the approximate time she sent the two children to their father in Lebanon, it looks like she was putting her own needs in front of the 4 and 6 year old. Does that not parallel some form of selfish act, such that the author accuses the father of in only keeping the kids as a form of ‘revenge’ (his act of selfishness)?

    These two children now will face a life in Beirut and only see their mother sporadically, because of her actions. Yes the father has a large role in this outcome, but the mother could have prevented this from ever occurring.

    I find these types of articles on the mother vs the father in in this particular case with the Brisbane mother and American Lebanese father, to be baseless and questionable reporting. This article wreaks of stereotypical beliefs and uninformed subject knowledge such as custody matters. We do not live in the 1950’s any longer and Australian custody laws are not simplified into ‘the child goes to the mother’. The actions of the father are far from illegal or immoral and are not even seen in the eyes of our Australian Family Law as wrong. Reference to the following High Court of Australia case for custody and relocation of a child from Australia to India, shows that there are precedents for these situations and on reading the detail of this case, you will see that taking Children away from the other parent without consent, is not necessarily seen as a criminal act or even as a negative act in the ongoing custody disputes of a father and mother.

    So before you jump to conclusions about what type of man this father is, and before you label him as a domestic violence offender, a kidnapper or anything else derogatory, think about the precedents for child custody and the psychology of what any mother OR any father will do to be with their children.

    You may well argue that I am labelling the mother as delinquent in her actions to stop the whole thing happening in the first place, which could then be argued that I am putting the onus on the female and hence ‘favouring the male’ or ‘marginalising women’ or plain outright call me sexist. BUT this case is not about the Brisbane Mother vs the American-Lebanese Father, it never was. It’s all about a mother who had full time care (possibly legal custody) and willingly allowed the kids to go to a dangerous country with an estranged husband. She was delinquent and it’s not a male vs female matter. If a father made those mistakes, I would brand him just as harshly.


      He took the kids in May last year (she would have been barely pregnant if at all), and refused to allow her access to them. She could have prevented it from occurring by withholding access to them, and treating him with distrust – which is what fathers all around the world hate. Seems to me she was trying to do the right thing by everyone. Any parent withholding access of their children to another loving parent is controlling and immoral. People take their kids on short holidays to dangerous countries all the time. It doesn’t mean they are delinquent. You are painting as though it is her fault for letting them go with their dad and she should have expected him to do this. If all women treated their ex that way, the world would be much worse off. Are you saying this should be a lesson to all women – don’t trust him and allow him access he asks for – he could screw you over??

      • I am of the belief that she should have put the childrens wellbeing first and withheld them from a holiday in the very country she herself didnt feel safe due to car bombings and general unrest in Beirut. Thats common sense 101. I am not saying she should deny the father access, but she should have been more considerate to the childrens best interests. By trying to be a good mother and allow the children access to the father in Lebanon, yes she is attempting a good approach but in an extremely naive manner, which not only at the time of the holiday put the children at risk of harm, but for their entire future on an physical saftey and emotional wellbeing basis. You could argue people take kids to dangerous countries all the time,but what sort of parent does that willingly? I certainly wouldnt be taking my 4 year old to a country perceived to be dangerous, let alone send him with out me to accompany him.

        Its not about a lesson to all women, or to all men, because this is not (or should not) be a battle of the sexes, it should be about the safety and welfare of the children, then and now.
        Your suggestion that she would have therefore looked to be treating him with distrust (by withholding them from the holiday), is not motive enough to have sent them to Lebanon. That would imply serving her own need at the risk of the children. From a factual standpoint it was a very poor decision regardless of her relationship with the father. I reiterate, Lebanon, no Hauge Convention, car bombings, family apparently not speaking English….sure such travel happens all the time but for whos benefit, surely not a 4 and 6 year old.

        She has had the opportunity to say, “Look I dont think the kids should holiday in Lebanon, why dont you come over and spend a couple of weeks in Australia with them” Or meet in another 3rd country was suggested in reports as options.

        With regard to “if all women treated their ex that way, the world would be much worse off.” Seriously? You are puttng the onus on the women to maintain amicable relationships with ex partners? I would argue that because she supposedly tried to care about the father and his access to the kids, she has actually made the world much worse for her kids atleast. Has she taken a methodical , legal and informed approach to how to go about shareing custody with an estranged husband in another country, she would have realised she didnt need to even try whatsoever to be treating him trust or dignity etc, because none of that matters is the face of a childs possible exposure to harm. If you want to think the world is all rainbows and sunshine and make naive decisions, take a look at the way it has ended for her. Its not because the father is maybe controlling or abusive or unfit as a father. Its because a very very poor decision was made. Sometimes the right decision in life is not there to maintain the status quo with an ex.

        With regard to “don’t trust him and allow him access he asks for – he could screw you over??” My response is, make informed intelligent decision in the best interest of your children. There are many better ways that ‘holiday’ could have been better negotiated. Its not a matter of trust or being ‘screwed over’ its about avoiding unnecessary risk. Any parent, father or mother should be more diligent in their arrangements. I dont believe based on the reports, she has be ‘thoughtful’ enough about the holiday plan. Even if he was the most trustworthy guy on the face of the planet, dont you think based on; estranged husband, no Hauge convention, car bombings in the vicinity of the Beirut home, that she could have been more ‘thoughtful’ for the kids benefit? Its doesnt mean to withhold the holiday plan you have to come off as distrusting, its all about tact and transparency for the right reasons, if he had of felt it was inappropriate had she denied the holiday, there are other ways to renegotiate.

        Which brings us to the point of her attempted ‘kidnapping’. It dumbfounds me how people can say “I would do the same, I would do ANYTHING to be with my child” Its a really ignorant statement because if you think about the statement, your saying you would even do something illegal to be with your child, which means in all likelihood you will NOT end up with your child. Thats the probability of illegal activity, incarceration. Sure, these things are not rational matter when it comes to ones on child, but in the face of adversity and extreme emotion, its exactly the time for rational thinking. She could have developed a strategy of building rapport with the ex and over greater time taken visits to Lebanon and made a less hasty extraction or even gotten to a point where he felt ok with the kids travelling back to Australia with her. Afterall, there were on good communication terms when she sent them to him, its possible she could have been more patient and develop communication again to have the kids returned amicably. But a bold, highly risky attempt to snatch them has led to life long repercussions. That to me is down right stupid. It like an inexprienced gambler going to Vegas and betting all his money in one bet or on the advise of rouge people i.e. She put her whole future and that of kids on the line by a snatch attempt on the advice of a bunch of mercenaries and TV crew. There is no way an ethical solicitor advised her to go and do that.

      • Re

        I quote: ‘I still don’t know if they’re safe’ … Sally Faulkner says she fears for her children every day.’

        This is media sensaltionalist reporting at its finest. You should recall, she sent the kids willingly to Lebanon for a holiday. There is no grounds that she should fear for the childrens safety any more so then before she knew they were not coming back. In other words, her fear for their safety didnt exist prior to them departing Australia so how can their safety all of a sudden be a concern simply because the father says the children wont be returning? There should be no distinction between 3 weeks holiday or 3 years, safety is parramount even for 1 day of travel regardless of when they are due to return to her. That is therefore a manufactured fear.

        There is more to this womans story, which is not being told.

        Quote: “The young mum says as parental child abduction is not criminalised in Australia, the government has shown no interest in assisting her or her family.”

        Reading between the lines, this means she did not have a Parenting or Consent Order in place prior to sending the kids on holiday to Lebanon. She or he didnt go through parenting mediation and draft a parenting plan or get a consent order with the Family Law Court. This is cruitial to making formal arrangements for a childs long term care. Without a Parenting Order or Consent Order, then either parent can take ‘custody’ of a child and there is not anything the authories can do if the other parent disputs it ie. the police cant take the child back to the other parent unless there is extenuating circumstances like child abuse. If a parenting /consent order is in place then yes, any actions that break the order are then breaking the law. Hence, she has said, ‘parental child abduction is not criminalised in Australia’, thats because neither parent has formal legalised custody.

        I spoke to a solicitor the other day, because I am going though the stages of Consent Order, and I quote him as having said, ‘before a consent order is in place, possesion is nine tenths of the law” meaning, whom ever has the child in their care (custody is a horrible word) has responsibiliy for the child and no one can take the child from that parent forcebly not even the police if the other parent called the police.

        Scenario: A mother cares for her two children in Brisbane. The father lives in Sydney and the kids visit him for holiday. If no consent order exisits and he keeps the kids in Sydney, the mother has no recourse to get them back other then to start mediation and go through the court if mediation fails. Assuming the court rules in her favor for full time care, then the kids can be returned to the mother. Thats the basics of how it actually works.

        This mother Sally, has clearly not taken any of these steps.

      • I appreciate your response Townsvilleblog. Not really sure which ‘act’ your referring to. Can you please elaborate? Can you please refrain from obscenities. Much appreciated.

      • If you are referring to the point I made about cases where no consent order exists and a parent can withhold a child from the other parent, please note that this is a warning to all parents without consent orders. Its not acceptable to just assume the other parent will return the child to you. If you care about your child you will have a formal agreement in place. Its not about trust its about the child and stability for the child. Stability that can be legally enforced. Many people seem to think its ok to label this father as having broken the law, but unless a consent order exisits technically he hasnt broken the law.

        Hence why I quote “the government has shown no interest in assisting her or her family” Its a warning, I am trying to help spread informed views as opposed to biased and uninformed views as is seen by so many people when they say he ‘kidnapped’ them.

        Forgetting the fact that she is attempting the very same thing, yet she is the victim and he the villian.

        The author of this blog is doing no community service by calling this man out for domestic violence. What the author is actually doing is pursuing vigilante action against an innocent (until proven otherwsie) father. Perpetuating the sterotype that men are inherently bad or vindictive and or aggressive. There are judicial processes for determining if someone (man or woman) are domestic voilence offenders. This is not a term to lightly accuse someone of. Perhaps the author thinks its her duty to call this man a DV offender because perhaps the women feels she can not. It appears to me we are becoming judge, jury and executioner all in one and you ought to watch out because thats a slipperly slope for society.

      • PS I have gone to considerable effort to articulate my viewpoint on this topic, because thats the point is it not, to discuss, debate and learn. I dont appreciate having someone respond with a single line reply that uses the word ‘Rubbish’ and ‘are$%*le’ and fails to offer a meaningful rebuttal.

    • Michael, Townsvilleblog seems to be trolling to get attention toward her blog.
      Her comments are designed to piss people off but they really have no substance or meaning. Arguing with some people is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how good you are, they’ll still shit on the board and strut around like they won.

    • Sally Faulkner and her husband were still married, when he took the children to Lebanon he had only gone back to Lebanon for a couple of months before he took the children to Lebanon for a holiday. I doubt the full custodial order was in place he took the kids on holiday. If they were still married and no custodial order was in place he was perfectly within his rights to take the kids to Lebanon. Sally was involved in a new relationship and was probably happy to have time with her new partner. If Ali could not live and work in Australia the options for continuing a meaningful relationship with his children were limited. As a parent I would find it very difficult to accept a new step parent would have more time and influence with my children and I would have a minor role in their lives. We don’t know the details of the new relationship, the new partner could have resented the children, Sally was in the early stages of pregnancy when the children went to Lebanon. New relationships are demanding she could have wanted a break from her children. I’m not saying the husband was right to keep the children in Lebanon but in the volatile messiness of a marriage break down bad decisions are made. Sally went straight into another a relationship while her children were still dealing with and mourning the loss of their father, that’s not that responsible either. Nobody comes out of this looking great.

      • A lack of full facts is clear. Your version sounds pretty reasonable on objective evidence to date. Where are the journalists telling the whole story???

      • Nobody knows the full facts and the media doesn’t seem that interested in supplying us with them – the ex-husband could be a complete arsehole, or the new stepfather could be, or Sally could have manipulated this situation to bring the children back to Australia so her ex-husband couldn’t have full access and she could have a new life free of him. I don’t know and nobody else does but there seems to be a rush to judgement based on very little information.

      • you compare going into a new relationship as not responsible to a man who prevented all contact of his children with his mother. What amazes me is how so many women will find the tiniest detail to blame Sally when as this article clearly points out this is DV. This is a manipulative controlling man who has prevented all access of his children to the mother. Whether she was still married to him has nothing to do with it. He did not have that right to take the children out of the country and never return them back and knowing full well the courts in Lebanon would grant him full custody, whereas in Australia he probably could have got shared custody. No he took them over there where he has power because he has relationships with Hezbollah, and the government and stopped all contact. You compare a woman forming a new relationship with a man as irresponsible compared to this man who prevented those children all contact with their mother, took them to a country where they cannot speak the language a dangerous country, stopped all contact with the mother, got full custody because that system is a religious system that would do that. Monitored his wife’s emails, knew there was a kidnap attempt likely, saw the rehearsal, let his kids out knowing full well the risk was there would be a kidnap attempt, because he knew full well he would get them back. He then even wants to take the Australian citizenship from these kids, their birth right, theirs, their future. For what, because she dared to have another relationship. It is absurd to compare this. But it seems the willingness to blame the mother and find any excuse why this ‘poor’ man has to steal his kids, traumatise them by moving them to a country and prevent access or any contact to the mother is their father. No to be a father you have to show you love those kids. He has done everything to traumatise those kids. Monster as far as I am concerned and many others who recognise a controlling abusive man like this.

  13. Just put of interest. How can a international court overturn a Australia. Custody order? I would have thought they could not touch it? Eg they would have to apply to the Australian courts and sit in a hearing? Seems funny no one has written about if she can appeal this in Australia? Personally I think she should have waited it out. How can a mother be changed with kidnapping of its her own child? Seems very strange but I highly doubt Lebanon could change a Australian court order? Does anyone know much about this?

    • Hi Sarah,

      The way that ‘custody’ between Australian and Lebanon laws works is that there is no agreement between the two countries. The only thing that resembles an international court in the context of Family Law and Custody is the Hauge Convention.

      In case you are not aware, the Hauge Convention is an agreement between signatory countries that ensures a child is returned to the country in which court orders have been established.

      The problem in this case is that Lebanon is not a part of the Hauge Convention, so the mother has no recourse via the Hauge Convention to seek from the Lebanon judicial system, the return of her children. The Lebanon judicial system does not necessarily recognise Australian family law, i.e. Parenting or Consent(Custody) orders. Interestingly, when an Australian court has to rule on a custody case, if there are custody orders in another country, the Australian court will attempt to consider all options for the childs living arrangements, and that includes looking at the orders in place else where.

      To answer your question “How can a mother be charged with kidnapping of her own child?” this is because the father in Lebanon had applied for Custody and was granted it. So technically in Lebanon, he has custody, and if someone including the mother try to remove the children from the fathers care, are then breaking Lebanese law, hence ‘kidnapping’.

      This is just matter of fact and how it actually is. IT DOES NOT MAKE IS RIGHT and I do not condone what either parent has done.

      • Thankyou 🙂 what I’m wondering is eg if they came back to Australia for some reason. Would that custody order remain? Eg Lebanon can’t revert get custody in Australia? Even though it was on the deal?

  14. Well said. I felt so sick in my stomach as he also knew every move, somehow he knows exactly what Sally is doing. I really feel for those children god only knows what he says about their mother behind closed doors.

    • No children can leave aust without the parents signature. My understanding is sally was traced by her phone?? Perhaps there are many things we have no knowledge of anonymous??

  15. I agree with everything of the above but also bear in mind how many mothers keep their children away from genuine fathers who want to be involved in their lives. When a women is involved in dv everyone is up in arms but when a man is involved he is guilty before anything.
    The children are the ones that matter but in due course they will be old enough to make their own choices.

  16. Thank you for writing an article that finally represents the true reality of this situation. Those poor children are left in the custody of a controlling manipulative man who will do anything to get his way including trying to take their basic right of Australian citizenship, contact with their mother. I fear for those children, what this has done to them and I mean him the trauma for them of being taken to a country they do not speak the language, no choice, he decided he would do this, prevent all contact with their mother. How traumatised and sad those children must be and that was because of HIM. Not a father, no real father could do that to their children. A controlling abusive man.

    • It doesn’t seem like anyone knows the full story and we are merely extrapolating from a few known facts. Relationship breakdowns are messy and when there is dual citizenship, cross cultural differences to navigate they are even messier. It’s likely this situation is more complex than she’s good he’s bad or maybe it’s as simple as that. I don’t know and I don’t think anybody else on this thread does either.

    • Seriously Liz Brown, you rhetoric wreaks of sexist uninformed views and information. A father is being viciously attacked for having done exactly what the mother did and tried to do on a second occasion. Why does this make him manipulative and controlling or worse a DV abuser? He equally has rights and equally may just want to have his children with him. In the face of the full media, he has not defamed the mother or said anything derogatory which says he has exercised personal restaint, where a lesser man or women would. That said, the mother has also restrained herself from accusing the father of anything negative. How can this articles author and people like yourself feel that you can label this man as manipulative, controlling and abusive “of the worst kind”? There many reasons why parents, father or mothers take drastic action and his action does not mean he is a bad guy. Just as we dont think the mother is a bad mother for her attempts to get her kids back via unoffical methods.

  17. This has to be the biggest pile of bull crap I have ever read.

    If you are going to put such an article out there I suggest finding out all the information and background first. Like her leaving Lebanon with the kids and refusing to return them without their father knowing. Just because she is the mother doesn’t mean she is always correct or has done th right thing.

  18. Finally someone has made sense of this situation. Thank you Victoria for articulating exactly how I feel. Too many people are blaming 60 minutes for their involvement without stepping back and looking at the whole picture and original cause. My heart goes out to Sally and those poor babies.

  19. He said he took the children because she was allowing her new partner to sleep with them all in the same bed. Exposing such young children to a new partner and new relationship to that extent is psychologically damaging to the children, especially when the parents are not divorced yet. He had the children’s best interests in mind by deciding to keep them with him in Lebanon where he has his business and also he doesn’t have the option of living in Australia, as she had long ago refused to sponsor him for a work visa and residency.

    She also exposed the children to the psychological trauma of being snatched off the street by armed ex-soldiers and then to be recovered by heavily armed police. Her husband asked her over the phone to bring them in to the police station voluntarily but she didn’t, and it seems that she had plenty of time to do so. She exposed the children to trauma and endangered them he is just wanting to protect them by keeping them with him.

  20. Whatever the situations the past relationship of Ali and Sally the present fact is that the children were taken by lying and every form of contact with their mother has been cut and refused. That is completely unacceptable and wrong. It is damaging to all members of these children’s family who also have no contact. There should be someone who can intervene and bring about contact.

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