Cross-Border Family Mediators (CBFM) is a network of family mediators worldwide who are trained specifically to deal with cross-border family conflicts, including international parental child abduction.
For the German version please click here.
For the Spanish version please click here.
For the French version please click here.
The general aim of the Cross-Border Family Mediators’ network is to prevent, support and protect children from harm related to cross border family disputes, in particular cases of international parental abductions. The Cross-Border Family Mediators’ network acts in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, in particular article 3 on the best interest of the child, and article 9 on the right to contact with both parents.
The mediation model, advocated and employed by the network and its members is based on the Wroclaw Declaration of 2007. It involves a team of two specially qualified co-mediators, normally a man and a woman, one with a legal, the other with a psychosocial background, who together also reflect the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the conflicting parents. Experience has shown that when the co-mediators reflect the couple’s cultural backgrounds and speak their languages, the parents feel innately understood and are more likely to reach a joint solution. A further requirement in abduction proceedings is the mediators’ ability and willingness to take on cases at short notice and to travel to another city or country.
The following specific objectives are defined as a priority for the work of the network in 2018- 2022, building on achievements of previous years:
1. Ensuring quality of mediation networks
2. Increasing the number of pre-mediation offices in Europe
3. Raising awareness on mediation in international child abduction cases
4. Increase the number of countries in which judges are legally obliged to propose mediation
5. Increase the percentage of hotline cases of international child abduction going through mediation
6. Increasing the voice of children in cases of international child abduction in court and in mediation.
Through these objectives, the network aims to contribute to the development of integrated child protection systems, where different stakeholders work together to develop a net of safety and protection for all children. By setting specific priorities, we aim to invest the limited resources available to establish the network as a reliable and sustainable partner in protecting children involved in cross-border family conflicts.
Launched by Belgian NGO Child Focus and German NGO Mediation bei internationalen Kindschaftskonflikten (MiKK), and based on a training and cross-border family mediation model developed in cooperation with the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, the coordination was taken over by Missing Children Europe in 2014.