In 2011 every European Union Member State has to implement the European Directive 2008/52/EG concerning mediation in civil and commercial matters in cross border conflicts, including family mediation. As yet, there is no harmonized European training with regard to international family mediation and – as a consequence – there is a lack of knowledge and an organizational vacuum.
MiKK in cooperation with Child Focus, the Katholieke Universiteit van Leuven (KULeuven) and with the support of the Dutch Centre for International Child Abduction, created a training program for international family mediation. This project was co-financed by the European Commission.
Firstly a research analysis was done to define the landscape of international family mediation in Europe. Primary research questions are descriptive at the level of the European Member States, and include identifying the number of training programs to date, the organizations involved, the assumed target groups, the models applied, and the accessibility of the training. Secondary central questions aim at gaining insight into the potential use of international family mediation at the international level.
Criteria for a training program for family mediators and the model for the training program was drafted on the basis of these main research topics and the first two-weeks-training with 21 family mediators from 21 states was conducted in September and October 2011. For this kick-off training, the project partners planned a 60-hour training.
The secondary component of this project was to ensure the dissemination of the training model across Europe. Therefore, secondary training sessions for future instructors were organized. The target group for this training were family mediation trainers from 27 European Member States plus Turkey and Croatia. Two trainers in each member state of the European Union was the goal. These trainers are able to rely on national support with the possibility of organizing integrated training programs. The project partners are convinced that this course involve 80 hours of training and took place in February, March and April 2012. The final goal of the project is the creation of a network of international family mediators in Europe that will spread further within Europe.
On 25 April 2012 we were able to celebrate the launch of the network with all of the over 70 mediators and trainers in Brussels.
The website of the network is available here: www.crossbordermediator.eu