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Why a Swiss platform?

In Switzerland and around the world, many parents regularly argue about custody and visitation rights of their children. Dozens of children are illicitly removed every year in Switzerland and taken abroad or vice versa. Such an act is often the result of unresolved parental conflicts. An illicit removal (“child abduction”) is most often perpetrated by one or the other parent.

Parents often feel abandoned, feel that their concerns are not fully understood or that they are not adequately advised.  The more the procedure seems long and fruitless, the more they rely on other means in the hope of obtaining help faster and more efficiently:  police, child protection authorities, juvenile offices, lawyers, consulting services, central authorities, politicians or the media are mobilized.  Sometimes parents, driven by the desire to achieve their goal and their rights, lose sight of other important aspects such as regular contact with their children.

Professionals are also facing additional challenges in situations of cross border family conflicts. Language problems, different cultural values​​, unusual mechanisms of conflict resolution, application of international or foreign law, a large geographical distance that prevents the implementation of previously agreed solutions - these are the factors to be taken into account .

An internationally coordinated project

In this context, an idea came up to create a platform in each country, a place that informs families and professionals on all aspects of cross-border family conflicts and develops with them possible solutions. Such an approach corresponds also to a recommendation of the Hague Conference, addressed to the Member States in the framework of the «Malta Process».

In several countries, this task is performed by a central authority for international child abduction. In Germany, the German branch of the International Social Service has been entrusted with this task by the government and has set up a new platform devoted to this delicate issue: www.zank.de

In April 2012, after discussions with its German partner, the Swiss Foundation of the International Social Service decided to consolidate all of its existing services in this area and make it available on one website. Thus, the Internet platform  www.conflits-familiaux.ch was created.