When confronted with an international child abduction, children feel frustrated about the lack of clear communication and a limited understanding of the situation. Additionally, children feel that their opinion is not always considered, even if they are being heard in the legal proceedings. An undesired outcome for the child leads to feelings of desperation and anxiety.

Facts about the topic

Prior to the project research found that:

  • Children complained about lack of understanding about the ongoing proceedings and their role within them.
  • Hearings were not age-appropriate (too childish for youngsters, too intimidating for children).
  • Children did not receive feedback on the actual result nor on the impact of their views and opinions on that decision.


This project aimed to enhance the wellbeing of children at all stages of an international child abduction by providing guidelines and good practices to legal and other professionals.


In 2019-2020 the INCLUDE project partners:

  • Created an overview of the legal frameworks on child abduction that exist in the European Union (and to a lesser extent beyond) and the literature on the topic, with a focus on legal literature.
  • Developed methodological guidelines for child participation in the project
  • Conducted focus groups and drama workshops with youngsters: Exploring the views of youngsters in Belgium, Cyprus and Hungary as to how children and young people in international child abduction proceedings should receive support from judges and other professionals.
  • Developed country reports on the outcomes of the focus group discussions.


In 2021 the INCLUDE project partners:

  • Created the Guide to Good Practice – a good practice guide based on youngsters’ views to professionals involved in international child abduction cases.
  • Organised the final conference for legal and other professionals


INCLUDE – Guide to Good Practice: Recommendations based on the views of children and young people to professionals involved in international child abductions

English – Download

French – Download

Greek – Download

Dutch – Download

German – Download

Russian – Download

Spanish – Download

Hungarian – Download

Report of the INCLUDE Conference  – Download

Methodological guidelines for child participation in the INCLUDE project – Download

Legal Framework and Literature Study – Download

Country Report: Cyprus – Download

Country Report: Hungary – Download

Country Report: Belgium – Download

Contact person

Aagje Ieven
Secretary-General and contact point for International Abduction & Cross Border Mediation

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