Endorse the conference recommendations


> In all conversations with children, professionals should be careful to interact with the necessary attention and genuine interest so that children feel respected and taken seriously. 

> Legislation should not contain age limits for hearing the child. All children capable of forming and expressing their views, should be given an opportunity to be heard. Such capacity should be interpreted widely.

> Children should receive adequate support to prepare them for a hearing. It should be communicated to the child, in appropriate language, that while the child’s view is important, children do not bear the responsibility of deciding the case. Transparency about the hearing procedure, the child’s role, the weight that can be given to the child’s views as well as the role of the person hearing the child, can avoid disappointment and unrealistic expectations which may be harmful for the child’s wellbeing.

> When assessing maturity, judges and other professionals hearing the child should take into account personality differences between children. Children who are shy, not self-confident or not as persuasive in their speaking and behavior should get equal chances to express their views in their own way, and have their views considered. 

> Professionals should encourage parents to reach an amicable solution in the best interests of the child.

> Professional support should be available to children during and upon return (e.g. through a psychologist, social worker…). The judge could suggest this in the judgement as a requirement for the return of the child. Nevertheless, given the long-term effects of child abduction, it is equally important that professional support is available for children and their families after return. Organising a peer group could further help children to deal with their experience by giving and receiving support to or from others who have been through a similar situation.

Read the complete set of recommendations here.

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* 1. I wish to endorse the Bouncing Back Conference recommendations

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* 2. Thank you for your support!