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iCare Report on Stakeholder Needs: Improving the Situation of Children in International Child Abduction cases through Judicial Cooperation and Family Mediation

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The main persisting problems in the area of international child abductions (ICA) concern differing national approaches, a shortage of comprehensive systemic data and overall information on abduction cases, as well as the lack of information, coupled with language barriers, cultural gaps and diverging definitions of what constitutes ‘child abduction’ that leads to a decrease in judicial cooperation and hinders the judicial process, slowing down the processing of return applications. With the help of the Report on stakeholder needs, the iCare project Consortium seeks to determine current existing setbacks and corresponding needs of stakeholders in ICA cases such as Central Authorities, legal practitioners (lawyers, judges, prosecutors etc.) and family mediators when dealing with ICA cases.

This report is based on the replies to a detailed questionnaire completed by 62 stakeholders from the EU Member States participating in the iCare project (Bulgaria, Italy, Greece, Germany, Belgium) and from additional countries such as the Netherlands and Poland. It reflects at the current procedures for resolving ICA cases within the forementioned countries, and the implementation of amicable solutions for conflict resolutions particularly International Family Mediation (IFM) in relation to the applicable EU and national legal instruments and good practices. The report also provides а comparison between the countries participating in the project and provide an insight into the existing national procedures for handling ICA cases and including IFM as an alternative dispute resolution. This report aims to help national practitioners in family matters (lawyers, judges, prosecutors, mediators, Central Authorities etc.), and to understand the specific features of the legal orders of the countries involved in the project as well as the procedural difficulties arising in the ICA cases in those countries.

Read the full report