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this matter against that of the child herself.18 reunite views abduction as being about suffering families and families in crisis, rather than about winning or losing a battle which has been fought out through the abduction of the child. However, the experience of those who deal practically with these issues, through the reunite Advice Line, is that parents very often do view the abduction in terms of winning and losing, and of exercising power and control. We therefore asked the interviewee to consider the effects on the other parent, and on any other person who may have been affected, to ascertain whether those involved recognise the wider impact of any effects of the abduction in which they have been involved.19 We also included a question on the issue of contact during the time of the removal or retention between the abducted child and the left-behind parent20 in order to consider whether, as is often suggested, children are routinely prevented from having contact with the left-behind parent in an effort to alienate the child from that parent.

Different interview formats were designed for the parents taking part, the children taking part, and the “others” taking part.21 As with “the outcomes” research however, it was our clear intention that the structured interview format was to provide a consistent framework within which each individual interview would be based, but would need to give way to the particular circumstances of the specific case. A combination of closed and open questions were used.

Analytical questionnaires were constructed to question the data produced by the interviews which, in the case of adults, usually took between 2-4 hours. The child interviews usually took less time and were conducted in ways in which the children concerned felt most comfortable, but always in private and without the presence of either of their parents.

18 19 20 21 See Overall Conclusions at 63. See Effects on Parents at 26 and Conclusions Adult Report at 46. See Left Behind Parents at 29 and Conclusions Adult Report at 46 et seq, also Child Report. Our appreciation is extended to Dominic Raeside , Family Law in Partnership, for his most helpful and constructive assistance in the drafting of the structured interviews.


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