iCare – Improving the Situation of Children in International Child Abduction cases through Judicial CoopeRation and Family MEdiation

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International child abduction (ICA) occurs frequently in the EU, with 1,800 cases annually, and has an immense psychological and emotional impact on all children involved, which can be further exacerbated by a slow and complicated judicial process due to a lack of adequate cooperation among Central Authorities, legal practitioners and family mediators. Following from this, and taking the child’s best interests as a priority, iCare will develop and implement novel tools and activities to improve the situation of children in ICA cases through strengthening judicial cooperation and incorporating International Family Mediation (IFM) as complementary to judicial proceedings. This will result in a child-friendly, cost-effective and time-efficient judicial process in ICA cases. To this end, iCare will increase the capacity of national Central Authorities designated by the relevant legislation, legal practitioners (family law judges and lawyers) and family mediators, improving cooperation and information exchange among them.

To achieve this, iCare will increase their knowledge on the current legal and administrative framework, accelerate the judicial process through creating minimum EU common standards and raise their awareness of judicial cooperation and the application of IFM. iCare will produce a detailed Methodology, inclusive of a Recommendations list, and an E-Platform for Central Authorities, legal practitioners and family mediators, and-both respecting the right of the child to information and increasing the knowledge of parents-it will create an AI Chatbot, serving as a first point of inquiry for children and parents. The project will also provide outputs for awareness-raising, facilitation of mutual learning and effective dissemination (E-Platform, international Workshops, Webinars, Videos, Newsletter and a Final Conference). Through its successful implementation, iCare will significantly improve the current situation of children during ICA judicial proceedings. 

Objectives:

– To create a sophisticated E-Platform that will serve as an enabler of better cooperation between Central Authorities, legal practitioners and family mediators by providing the means to allow seamless information exchange in handling cases of international child abduction.

– To create an interactive AI-based chatbot that will provide children with access to relevant information and parents with information and guidelines on what actions they need to take when faced with cases of international child abduction, thus improving the situation of children in those cases.

– To raise the capacity of Central Authorities, legal practitioners and family mediators on how to properly implement the EU and international legislative instruments related to cases of international child abduction and how to use innovative methods for dispute solving, thus improving the situation of children and increasing judicial cooperation.

– To draft a Methodology that will provide detailed guidelines for Central Authorities, legal practitioners and family mediators on how to approach international child abduction cases through better cooperation and the application of IMF.

– To disseminate project outputs through various platforms and networks to relevant stakeholders in order to increase the overall awareness on issues related to international child abduction and alternative methods for dispute resolution. 

Partnership:

LIF – Law and Internet Foundation (Bulgaria) – Project coordinator

CERTH – Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas Information Technologies Institute (Greece)

Defence for Children International Italia (Italia)

Mikk E. V. International Mediation Centre for Family Conflict and Child Abduction (Germany)

MCE – European Federation for Missing and Sexually exploited Children AISBL (Belgium)

Associated:

Unione Nazionale Camere Minorili

International Social Service – General Secretariat


Duration: 01/11/2020 – 01/11/2022 (24 months)

THIS PROJECT IS CO-FUNDED BY THE JUSTICE PROGRAMME OF THE EUROPEAN UNION