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Research of the nature detailed and analysed in this report on the Effects of International Child Abduction is invaluable. Yet that value cannot be measured. The data gathered is necessarily anecdotal, although the participants speak for themselves. It is not susceptible to scientific tests for objectivity for the experiences listed are intensely personal, dictated by and from each individual's perspective. The sample sets are small. But to list these supposed deficiencies is to miss the point.

The section dealing with the adults' interviews is in the nature of a follow-up to earlier contacts made and contributions noted in reunite's 2003 report of research into the Outcomes for Children Returned Following an Abduction. It is striking how in so many cases issues arising for the grown-ups from the abduction experience have at best over the intervening period remained latent, or at worst have festered for them and thus inevitably for their children.

The interviews with children are particularly striking and poignant. Their accounts again demonstrate the long-lasting effect of abduction on the children and young persons involved, as they grow and develop.

Taken together the insights afforded by this research underscore the essential message: that abduction almost invariably fractures the lives of all concerned and their immediate families. Time is an inadequate healer. Prevention must be better than cure. Greater and wider public and professional perception and understanding of the downside of abduction are a significant and may be the best deterrent. This Report makes an important contribution along that way.

Mr Justice Singer

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