CAFCASS,5 and have valued the sensitivity and skill that they have brought to this part of the research project.
“The outcomes report” was received with great interest from commentators in many diverse areas of concern, 6 both in relation to its findings on undertakings and the lack of specialist legal and other help in these matters which severely affects those who rely on their existence, and from those who supported our quest for more child involvement.7 We believe this latter point to be particularly important in view of the growing appreciation of the need to take account of a child’s views in decisions affecting a child’s life8 and, especially, as we are not aware of any previous European abduction research which has included child interviews in the absence of both parents,9 the
5 6 Service Manager, CAFCASS, and Family Court Advisor, CAFCASS, respectively. See, e.g., Brown, Domestic Abuse Quarterly, Women’s Aid Federation of England, Winter2003/4; Beevers, Contemporary Issues in Law, Volume 6, Issue 4, 2002/3, Lawtext; Australian Federal Central Authority Newsletter, International Child Abduction News, No. 27; Thorpe L.J, Enforcement and Effecting Return, The Judges’ Newsletter, Spring 2004; Professor Merle Weiner, Strengthening Article 20, University of San Francisco Law Review, Vol 38, Summer 2004.
7 E.g. Killerby, Council of Europe, former Head of the Private Law Department, the Legal Advice Department and Treaty Office, now Head of the Department of Crime Problems, who wrote on 26th October 2003 of her interest in “the outcomes report” and stated, “I note that child interviews will be included in the next stage of the research. This is very good”.
8 See Liverpool Children’s Fund Early Experience Report, September 2002 Evaluation, produced by The Centre for the Study of the Child, The Family and The Law on the theme of child participation at 4: “[t]he views of the child are often at best the last to be taken into account and at worst, and perhaps more commonly, the first to be completely ignored”. Also, Harold and Murch, Inter-parental Conflict and Children's Adaptation to Separation and Divorce: Theory, Research and Implications for Family Law, Practice and Policy, CFam 17 2 (185) 1 June 2005, discussing recent research findings from developmental psychology which point to the need to take account of children's views and perceptions of inter-parental conflict. Also see, Every Child Matters, Cm 5860 (Department for Education and Skills, 2003) which stresses the importance of involving children and young people and listening to their views. The Association of Lawyers for Children Newsletter, October 2004, Issue 32, at 6, details the Blueprint Project set up by Voice for the Child in Care (VCC) with support from the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) and which identifies four central messages, the first of which was “We have to focus on the child in everything we do, putting their needs and interests ahead of those of agencies involved and adults around them”. Albeit a project relating to the domestic care system, it provides evidence of the wide-spread identification of the principle of the need to listen to children in matters affecting them. Greif (University of Maryland) has researched extensively in the area of international child abduction. See e.g. A Parental Report (“Parental Report”) on the Long-Term Consequences for Children of Abduction by the Other Parent, Child Psychiatry and Human Development, Vol 31(10 Fall, 2000) which details the results of 32 parental reports concerning their impression of their children’s situations and the parent/child relationship about 10 years after the recovery of the child; Also see Treatment Implications for Adults Who Were Parentally Abducted When Young, Family Therapy, Volume 20, Number 3, 2003. Greif’s continued research with one of the 32 participants in the “Parental Report” was the subject of a video film shown at a meeting in Leicester 15th October 2004 attended by the author and which included film of two children being interviewed with their mother.
9 Agopian M.W., Parental Child Stealing, Lexington, M.A:Lexington Books, 1981 interviewed 5 children recovered after abduction. Being intra-American research, Agopian’s study may be distinguished from this project which considers the issue of the effects of international child abduction.