This project concerns the right of children to see both parents, and defense against parental child abduction. In 2018, harmful legislative amendments were passed preventing police from conducting a search, and parents from reporting child abduction. Unfortunately, courts are ineffective and tardy, and often there is no way of enforcing rulings. Meanwhile, statistics show an increase in the number of reported parental child abductions. The situation is especially difficult during a pandemic – social isolation has become a means of cutting a child off from one of the parents. At the same time, there is very little free family mediation available, and the parties in dispute see mediation as unnecessary and ineffective.
The Project Promoter will create a nationwide, remote Support and Mediation Center to help conflicted families and children at risk of child abduction. Before the Center is created, the Project Promoter will conduct comparative analysis of the Polish and Norwegian systems to implement the most suitable solution. In the Center itself, not only mediation, but also watchdog, emergency call, and awareness measures will be conducted to raise public awareness of parents and guardians (for example a social campaign as part of International Mediation Week and a parental child abduction handbook). An international conference on parental child abduction for people in the police, social welfare institutions, and courts will be a major element of the project.
The project will improve parents’ awareness of a child’s right to see both parents and the consequences of parent alienation. Parents and children (approximately 250 people) will be given real support in conflict resolution, while respecting a child’s rights and wishes. Professionals working with families during a guardianship crisis will improve their competencies regarding supporting conflicted parents and their children.