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My Intervention at POAM

I was proud to give my contribution in Milan Bicocca University for the POAM Project: Protection of Abducting Mothers in Return Proceedings.

As a Lawyer, specialised in family law and international family law after more than 20 year of practice in Italy, Europe, US and UK, I can say that Domestic violence is the most common form of violence against women. Domestic violence affects women disproportionately. Domestic violence may be present in about 70% of parental child abduction cases. Domestic violence remains a high priority for the EU.



The very timely and much needed POAM project gets on the way, led by the University of Aberdeen (‘the UK team’) and with a core consortium including Croatia, Germany and Italy. Dr Katarina Trimmings obtained EU funding for this major collaborative project which commenced in January 2019 and will last for 2 years. The project received funding from the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020). The Protection of Abducting Mothers in Return Proceedings: Intersection between Domestic Violence and Parental Child Abduction will focus on work to prevent and combat gender-based violence and violence against children in the context of international parental child abduction.

The project is exploring  problems related to the operation of the Regulation 606/2013 on mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters (‘the Protection Measures Regulation’) and the Directive 2011/99/EU on the European Protection Order (‘the European Protection Order Directive’) in the specific context of parental child abduction cases between EU Member States (except Denmark) committed against the background of domestic violence. The project is addressing the difficult issues of protection of abducting mothers in return proceedings under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (‘1980 Hague Convention Abduction Convention’) and the Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, repealing Regulation (EC) No 1347/2000 (‘the Brussels IIa Regulation’) when these two instruments mandate the court of the State of refuge to order the return of the child to the State of the child’s habitual residence. Although it is not mandatory for the abducting parent to return together with the child, the abducting mother (in particular if she is the primary carer), will normally accompany the child back to the State of origin, even if it means that she has to compromise her own safety. The project iscontributing  towards the implementation of the Protection Measures Regulation and the European Protection Order Directive in the difficult area of parental child abduction, where the combination of the obligation to order the return of the child imposed on the court of the State of refuge by the 1980 Convention and the Brussels IIa Regulation, and the lack of consideration of the safety of the returning parent in either of these instruments means that abducting mothers who have been victims of domestic violence in the State of origin are often implicitly forced to return to that State without effective protective measures having been put in place.

Today in Milan we have studied and developed good practice and ensure that relevant professionals are trained in the application of the Protection Measures Regulation and the European Protection Order Directive in child abductions committed against the background of domestic violence.

The meeting was very effective in strategically planning to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and practical experience by experts in the area of the protection of women against domestic violence generally and/or in the specific context of parental child abduction.